During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic many businesses and, especially small businesses were impacted. One of which was James Otten Dentistry, and Dr. Otten had to quickly make changes to his practices in order to sustain his business. The most important change and concern was the safety of his staff and patients during the time. 

“How do we protect those that we serve,” Otten said. “Our health, our staff’s health, and our patient’s health were really the things that mattered the most of all things we had to consider.” 

Otten closed his business to reframe and create the proper process for his business going forward, however, closing his business was not a downside due to the major improvements it led to. Some of the improvements included a fogger used for disinfecting each room, HEPA vacuum filtration system and a series of questions were asked to patients to ensure the safety and health of each patient before
each visit.  

While all those improvements made a major positive impact on the business, there were other steps Otten took during the businesses close that helped change his business as well. During the close, he reached out to the Kansas SBDC at the University of Kansas, and he worked with Taylor LaRue, an Advisor at the KU office. Help with Economic and Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program loan was given and played a critical part in the business’s success during such a challenging time.  

“In addition to helping with the funding options that were available, the SBDC gave us what we needed most of all - hope.” Otten said. But that was not the only thing he wanted to share, he also wanted to share a piece of advice for anyone that may have been or is currently in a similar position.  
“Never give up,” Otten said. “There's always a brighter tomorrow somewhere on the horizon. Sometimes, we just have to be willing to take the difficult journey to find it.”