Tips for Recruiting Small Business Owners for Recovery Programs

Practical tips for getting through to entrepreneurs who are “too busy" or overwhelmed by current events.

Tips for getting through to entrepreneurs who are “too busy.”

Small business owners right now are overwhelmed and legitimately may find it next to impossible to take time out of their daily operations to do a program. Here are some tips for reaching them:

Identify with where they are. Acknowledge the overwhelm and make your offering a solution for that overwhelm. 

Use a personal ask. Rather than marketing to strangers, use your network of personal connections to send texts and phone calls to people you already have relationships with. A personal invitation goes a long way.

Make it easy. Start with the lowest entry barrier. If signing up for a multi-week program is too much, point them to a workshop. If a workshop is too much, think about offering a roundtable or meetup first. Once they have a positive first experience that helps them see the value of making a bigger time investment.

Make it about their business. Entrepreneurs typically won’t prioritize themselves (even though they should), but they will prioritize things that can directly impact their business. Help them see your workshop or program as an investment in their business.

Make it urgent, not just important. Theoretically, we make time for what we think is important. Practically, we make time for things that are urgent. If you can get an entrepreneur to see that it is both important AND urgent for them to think beyond the moment and take a step forward, they will be more willing to make it a priority. 

Emphasize the value. People value what costs them something, whether that is time or money. Do they believe in their business enough to invest in it? Is the future of their business worth a two-hour workshop or a few hours each week?

Ask for feedback. Ask questions to get to the bottom of their “no.” It might not just be because they’re too busy. Is it not a fit for the stage they are at? Is it a practical reason like the schedule? There might be simple things you can do or change about your offering based on your customer discovery.