We recently had on the R&B Podcast show our good friend and long-time champion of small businesses everywhere, Ken Yancey. We had a great discussion about weathering the coronavirus pandemic and why every business owner should have a mentor! Below are excerpts from the podcast.
Rieva Lesonsky: What are your thoughts about today’s current global crisis and how it’s affecting small business owners?
Ken Yancey: The challenges this is creating seems insurmountable. Small businesses, particularly those that are connected to the service industry, tourism, retail are particularly affected. With people sheltering in place the customers aren’t there and their needs have changed. There’s not a lot small business owners can control these days. So they need to focus on the things they can control.
Brian Moran: What are some of the things that small business owners are doing right—and wrong today?
Ken Yancey: I think the things that they’re doing right are, they’re being creative, they’re figuring out the best ways to deliver products, sell products, use technology for ordering purposes, and come up with unique ways that limit one-to-one contact to deliver those services.
They’re communicating with their employees, suppliers, and creditors. A lot of people are going to great lengths to support the small businesses in their communities because they know what a difficult time it is. But if they’re not aware you’re open you’re not going to benefit from their generosity.
Rieva Lesonsky: What are some resources small business owners should be accessing right now while most of them are working from home?
Ken Yancey: The banks are doing the things that they can, trying to assess, evaluate, put in systems to be able to track and do all the things a bank has to do in order to make a loan. And, some fintech companies are doing the same.
This is a great time to find a mentor. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t talk about SCORE, the SBDCs and Women’s Business Centers. We all need a shoulder to cry on every now and then.
Brian Moran: What can business owners do today to generate revenue for their companies?
Ken Yancey: Are there partnerships locally they can enter into that would help them distribute or sell or, or generate revenue? And clearly there are other organizations that are surprising providing support for small business. Facebook has a grant program. Google’s doing some things. Yelp has an opportunity. The states are providing different levels of support communities. Counties are providing support. Chambers of commerce might have ideas or suggestions. You need to exhaust all of those opportunities. otherwise you’re not doing your business or yourself.
Brian Moran: A lot of businesses have time to revisit the things that weren’t working well in your company and fix them
Ken Yancey: It’s a good time to do scenario planning, asking “What if?” Keep a file where you can look up what you plan to do in different scenarios, such as: What happens when you lose your top customer? What happens when you lose your best employee How are you going to weather the storm?
Brian Moran: Can you name one or two nice surprises that hopefully come out of this crisis for small businesses?
Ken Yancey: I think we’re realizing how important we are to each other and how important people are and the interactions we have. This is an opportunity for us to relearn how to work together, to relearn what it means to be supportive, to be kind and help one another.
That’s kind of where I am—hoping we will all find and retain the idea that relationships and people are important and that there’s so much to be said for how we treat one another and support one another and the value of what that creates. To hear the whole conversation with Ken Yancey, click here.