Everyone Wants to Help Small Businesses Through COVID-19

May 21st, 2020

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But Who Really Means It and Who’s Just Masking a Lame Attempt to Get Our Money?

That’s a huge new thing. I get numerous emails every day from companies claiming to be experts that want to help us through this pandemic – but who really means it?

Many do. My bank and law firm, and even my CPA firm send me critical information on what grants and loans are available and what rules are in place, and this is ongoing communication since things are changing constantly. Although they never claim to be experts as so many do, their guidance and advice are invaluable.

Some of the local wellness organizations, like The Wellbeing Partners and Lori Stohs Consulting, are sending us clues on how to keep staff members physically and mentally healthy while working from home.

Even Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is sending us extremely helpful ways to keep folks entertained and educated and not just idly sitting around.

All of these efforts are helping us navigate rough waters, helping us feel less alone.

These are all brands that we will recall with extreme gratitude, brands we’ll seek to work with when all of the dust has settled. They are employing their own resources to help guide us through a difficult time, with no eye toward reward. They are showing how much they value our relationship. That’s how it’s done!

Then there are the plethora of companies who have knocked out an “official guide to dealing with COVID-19 and your staff” and “how to work from home productively” along with countless others. These folks want us to pay them for their “expert” software or webinars that will teach us undoubtedly very little that our genuinely caring connections haven’t already offered gratis. But what they offer will cost us money that would best not be spent during a time such as this. They fill up our inbox with tantalizing teasers assuring that all will fail without their costly tips and suggestions. No thanks.

The fact remains that these are the brands trying to capitalize on our vulnerability. They don’t really want to ensure our ultimate health; they just want to create a lucrative new revenue stream for work they’ve thought about for a minute and a half. Experts? Hardly.

These are the brands that will not be remembered favorably. When we finally arrive at “the new normal,” we will ignore and delete communications from the brands we have learned not to trust, the brands that are not genuinely there for us and are trying to capitalize on our challenges, wasting our time and money.

Now, does this mean that no one can charge for their work during our current crisis? Absolutely not. There are many things we will gladly pay for. Things that will genuinely help us and are not taking advantage of vulnerability. In times like these, we rely on our personal experience and relationships to know who can be trusted. We’ve worked with them before, or they have been recommended by someone with whom we have a relationship and trust.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to reach out to a new contact with an offer of help, but it’s imperative to prove your value and worth – neither will ever be proven through cheesy promotional teasers, and imperatives designed to elicit fear. Before you can expect to create the bond that is necessary to get us to open our coffers, during such a time of tightening our belts, you need to earn our trust. The surest way to engage a new contact is to offer something of value to them for nothing. It doesn’t have to be something huge and expensive, but it does have to enable them to see that you are giving of yourself in a way that will benefit them.

And that pretty much sums up the way to survive this pandemic – we must rely on those who are genuine and willing to give of themselves.

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