2020 and now 2021 have been challenging years for all of us from business owners and
service providers to the general community. We have been asked to shutdown, pivot,
distance and hand wash as if our lives depended on it (which they do). And we as a
community have done all that has been asked. We’ve changed our shopping habits,
become creative in our spending and in some cases have learned the value of family,
sometimes because we are attached to them 24/7. A lot of people say that this social
isolation will be the downfall of our communities, yet, I witnessed a remarkable thing
this past weekend that had absolutely nothing to do with physical distance BUT
emotional connection. People coming together from all different backgrounds, social
circumstances and walks of life to respond to a plea from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of
A request was made to assist a 12 year old who was supposed to receive a bike, but
circumstances prevented this from happening. The ask was for assistance to repair
another bike that needed major work or for other alternatives people might have to not
disappoint this young man. In less than a few minutes, people were online donating
unused bikes, offering money to purchase new bikes and offering to make the necessary
repairs to help out someone in need. There was no criticism or judgement of the
circumstances, no blaming or shaming, just a genuine response to a simple ASK.
Everyone offered what they could afford or what they could do – imagine the power of
that? Had the organization not reached out to let us know of their need, NONE of us
would have known and they probably would have struggled to deal with it internally or
disappointed a young man.
JUST ASK. How simple. Have you as a business owner let your customers and the
community know how they can help you? Have you asked them to buy gift certificates,
pre-book services or call you to order for curbside pick-up? Have you shared your
struggle and asked for potential solutions? Or have you suffered in silence? In these
times, I am often reminded of the Mahatma Ghandhi quote, “If you don’t ask, you don’t
get”. Asking is not a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength. When we can voice
our need or share our burden, we manifest solutions. Even in isolation or lockdown, no
person or business is an island – we just need to learn how to build bridges to other
islands – start simply by reaching out and asking for help.
*Ramona Gallagher is a serial entrepreneur who has owned a number of her own successful businesses and who has coached and mentored over 5,000 entrepreneurs in starting or growing their own businesses. She considers herself a connector - connecting people with resources and supports to take their business from concept to reality. Ramona holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University and has worked in a variety of industries and businesses in Canada and abroad. She is a published author and speaker and is considered a subject matter expert in working with clients with disabilities and those with limited resources.
You can reach out to Ramona by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org www.thesmallbusinesscentre.ca