What Happens When Entrepreneurs Try a Different Ask

“Should I ask? It’s the 11th hour. I have enough money to keep the lights on for another month but I had to let all my staff go. If I don’t do something, I will have to close my crumbling brick-and-mortar doors for good.”

Is this you or someone you know? There are many cases where the COVID-19 pandemic has cut into small business viability and left it looking frantically for lifelines.

The pandemic predicament requires taking action, however uncomfortable or unsavory it might be. It may be that the easiest thing to do is to lock the door, turn over the keys and walk away regardless of the consequences.

But are you a quitter? Did you come all this way only to throw in the towel? What’s available? What’s possible?

An entrepreneur in Nisku, Alberta, was facing that door-closing dilemma. What the owner of the Saskitoba Diner, Candy Galay, came up with according to Nicole Weisberg at CTV news was a campaign that has turned her business around. She put the word out on social media that she was holding a “Help Me Pay My Rent Event”.

You are probably already guessing what happened. That’s right. She held her event just before the end of January and was overwhelmed by the response. People shared her post and people placed orders for her diner fare to the point that she could not fill all the orders that were coming in.

I like Candy’s response. She wasn’t happy about the choices before her until she converted the one thing she knew how to do. She knew how to ask. When her diner was open for business with customers seated at tables, she was asking them every day what they wanted to order. On this particular day, she needed to come up with a new ask. That ask was about helping her pay her rent.

Being a business owner trying to survive in a government-ordered shut down for weeks that were turning into months without sufficient income to stay alive, the Saskitoba Diner was not alone. Providing a take-out service was not enough.

That post on social media was brilliant. It was like waving a magic wand and the orders started coming. It is my opinion that her result is a tribute to the fact that she asked.

Are you facing closure? Are you on the edge of a decision to pivot or quit?  It is an uncomfortable precipice. If close your business you must, why are you delaying the inevitable? If closing your doors is not an option—be your doors digital or land-based—what should your ask be?

What do you need?

  1. Do you need volunteers? Do you need inventory to stay alive? Do you need customers from cyberspace?
  2. Where are the customers who need you? Do they hang out on social media? Which platform? Online networking? Which communities? Which groups?
  3.  How will you phrase your ask?

If you are a business owner and you do not ask for help from a coach, a mentor, a community or an organization, your options diminish with each passing day. Think of your ask as being like an invitation.

Invite your neighborhood to help you. Ask. It is time for them to rally and join in the endeavors that will help them keep small businesses alive in their community. The chances are good that it is small businesses like yours that have contributed to supporting the local baseball teams, hockey clubs and many other activities. It is time for neighbors to return the favor and give back.

The road to reciprocity does not work in a one-way direction. Reciprocity is about giving and receiving. Remember that it does not cost anything to ask.

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Article contributed by Donna P. Dahl

Donna P. Dahl, B.Ed., M.Ed., author, coach, empowerment speaker and book shepherd, was named to Canada’s 2020 Top 100 Professionals and has been interviewed by popular hosts like the Universal Womens Network and Christopher Kai https://bit.ly/36Q4NNB  

Donna’s books specifically support self-empowerment for entrepreneurs. Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise, available on Amazon, consistently receives 5-star reviews and Empowering the Leader Within You expands on the 7 essentials to being a standout entrepreneur. https://www.Donnapdahl.com  

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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