The humanity of small business – asking for help during a crisis
Hey, I’m Michael Eckstein 👋, and this is ‘Ordinary & Necessary’, a weekly newsletter about the not-so-sexy business topics that won’t generate clicks on the web, but will help you manage and grow your business. You signed up on my website. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click here. No harm, no foul, I’d love to have you back sometime.
I’m a big believer in the humanity of small business. After all, every small business is run by people. Your clients, your vendors, and your employees are all people and they all want to help. Sure, some people might circle the wagons to protect what’s theirs during a crisis. But, the vast majority of people want to come together and help out so we can all make it through this crisis together.
The one hitch is that you need to ask for help. Most of us are so caught up in our day-to-day that we don’t notice when others need help from us. But, if we’re asked, we’d love to help. In fact, you’re probably reading this email right now because I specifically asked for your help.
- Your clients may need help from you. They may need you to help them virtually now that we can’t meet in person. They may need extra time paying your bill. Or, they may need your frank and professional advice on what they should do going forward.
- You may need help paying your vendors and they may be willing to meet you in the middle. Ask if you can defer your payments an extra 30 days or if you can set up a payment plan. Even larger companies are offering payment options.
- Your employees and contractors understand business is tough right now. Be open with them and communicate what’s happening behind your business’s financial iron curtain. Explain that you may need to reduce hours or layoff employees. But, at the same time, help them land softly and explain the government resources they may be eligible for like expanded unemployment benefits (for employees) or Paycheck Protection Program, if it gets more funding (for contractors).
These conversations are going to get emotional, so try to have these talks over the phone instead of email. And, if you have to email, remember to keep it professional. We’re all stressed right now.
THIS WEEK’S ACTION ITEM: Reach out to one vendor and ask if there are any additional payment options during this crisis. Check to see if you qualify for deferred or reduced payments.
Have a good weekend and stay safe!
P.S. If you like the concept of humanity in small business, you should definitely check out ‘Give and Take’ by Adam Grant. It’s a dense, academic book about helping others (giving) in the business world and how givers are successful.