Co-founder of Bridge Light Consulting
We sat down with Don to talk about his interest in charity work, his partnership with the SF Chamber of Commerce, and the ways he’s helping small businesses during the pandemic.
Don believes great risk comes with a greater need to think creatively. We dive deep into what that kind of thinking looks like and discuss tangible actions you can apply to your business.
Welcome to the Werqwise community, can you tell us more about Bridge Light?
"There are no wasted experiences"
"Small businesses are the engines that run the American economy."
When we started to put this together, we knew we would need allies. We wanted someone with clout, with visibility, and I was very fortunate to be introduced to Rodney Wong, the President of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. We have a shared vision of how we should take small businesses through this current environment, and we have been working together for a couple of months now.
“We have to be really creative in our thinking.”
We talk to businesses and try to understand their ability to weather this crisis. If they are talking to us, they probably need help. We guide them through the PPP loan process, but we also offer additional resources beyond that, there’s more opportunity to help them out.
In a scenario where a small business owner thinks they can make it through if they optimize, we look at where they can cut costs, starting with service providers. Those SPs would rather cut rates than lose costumers and go out of business. I recommend talking to them about what kind of deals they can make.
Another scenario to consider is a change in product. For example, a company we consult manufactures booths for conferences. They’re in some trouble right now because, let’s face it, we aren’t having conventions or conferences anytime soon. They pivoted to making furniture for home offices, and now they are doing great.
Worst case scenario, the company is at imminent risk, and they’re focused on survival. This is where we have to be really creative in our thinking. We think about ways those businesses can continue to make their product but deliver it in a different way. A lot of businesses in that position might have already explored this, but we don’t take anything for granted. I believe that no idea is a bad idea. We leave no rock uncovered. That’s where we’re at in this crisis.
"No idea is a bad idea."
The key to this is the brainstorming process, but also the magic that comes from the conversation. I advise everyone to have at least three people in the room when brainstorming. Make sure there is a spread of experiences. Have someone who has been in business for a long time, they’ll have insights on how things can get done, but also someone who is new to the workforce, who has not had years of being told: “This is how we do things.” These younger people are more likely to see possibilities that an old dog like me might not see. Sometimes the youngest person in the room comes up with the coolest, most awesome idea. Be creative, open to possibilities, consider everything because no idea is a bad idea.