The coronavirus-induced economic shutdown has left millions across the U.S. jobless, with business owners struggling to remain open and unsure how to move forward. Because of this, the financial savvy investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank” shared a few pieces of advice during Friday’s episode – including how to save, handle rent and remain productive at home during this time.
“To our ‘Shark Tank’ fans, to our entrepreneurs, to our small business owners, to all of the helpers out there, the entire world is facing something we’ve never seen in our lifetime,” the Sharks said during the episode.
“Whether you’re a small business owner or just trying to help your family,” Shark Robert Herjavec said, “we’re here with some advice.”
Here are some tips from the Sharks.
1. Try to negotiate rent if needed
The U.S. economy lost a record of 20.5 million jobs in April, leaving many unsure of how to pay expenses, including rent. In fact, nearly a third of apartment renters in the country did not pay rent during the first week of April, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The moment you think you won’t be able to pay this month’s rent, you’ve got to call the landlord immediately,” Shark Barbara Corcoran said.
“Be reasonable,” she said. “Offer something, but ask for [your landlord’s] help on letting you waylay some of your cost for a time later to catch up.”
Some have pushed for rent strikes, calling on the federal government to mandate rent freezes and give assistance. In many states, a temporary moratorium on evictions has been put into place to protect renters amid the pandemic, CNBC reported.
2. Don’t be ashamed to take out a loan for your business
According to a Small Business Survey conducted April 21 through 27 by CNBC and SurveyMonkey, 13% of small business owners said they could survive less than a month in an extended period of lockdown. Thirty one percent said their business would last “a few months or less.”
And amid this uncertainty, Mark Cuban recommended small business owners look into loan options, depending on their situation.
“There are so many places you could turn to for loans and grants,” he said during the episode. “Go to your state’s government website. Go to your city’s government website.
“Don’t be ashamed,” he said.
Cuban previously told CNBC that small business owners should apply to multiple banks to boost their chances of getting a coronavirus relief loan. “It’s an opportunity to save your business and maybe even propel it into something bigger and better than it was before,” he said.
3. Be transparent with your team at work
It’s no secret that a wave of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts went into effect as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
In such a situation, being open with your employees is extremely important, Shark Herjavec said.
“In bad times like this, you’ve got to be brutally transparent and honest with your team,” he said. “There might be some layoffs, you might have to cut certain costs.
“Your team needs to know what’s going on.”
4. Remember that you can’t time the market
As markets plummet amid the pandemic, it’s natural to be concerned about retirement savings.
But it’s important to remember that you cannot predict the highs and lows of the stock market, he said.
“If you’re worried about your investments, remember this: We went into this global pandemic with the best economy we’ve had in decades. These are going to be very volatile markets,” he said.
“But there’s one thing we’ve learned from this kind of volatility in the past — you can’t time the market.”
Instead of focusing on the short-term, experts recommend creating a five-year money plan, despite future uncertainty, and a sizable emergency fund.
5. Use the time to invest in yourself and your goals
“Don’t look at these times as a setback, look at them as an opportunity,” Shark Lori Greiner said.
“Start to improve your social media presence, improve your website and do the things that you never had time to do before. Get active.”
And Shark Daymond John agrees. Take this time to “reinvest in yourself,” he told CNBC Make It in March.
“I am educating myself on platforms, such as Zoom and TikTok,” he said, so that he can increase engagement on his various social media platforms. “You have this opportunity. Set those personal goals for yourself.”
6. Find your ‘why’ and reflect on your purpose
As the going gets tough for everyone, “this is a true time to reflect on your ‘why,'” John said. “Why did you start a business? Why are you working where you’re working? Why are you trying to change people’s lives? Now is the time that your ‘why’ is put to the test.”
In his book, “Powershift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome,” John emphasizes the importance of finding your “why.”
One of the biggest reasons people fall short of their goals “is simply that they don’t take the time to think them through,” John writes. “They put it out there that they want to make partner, or they want to make a million dollars, or they want to start this or that business, but they don’t stop to think about why they want these things.”
7. Stay positive
Last but not least, the Sharks had an encouraging message to those struggling during this time.
“These are the times that will make warriors out of entrepreneurs. It will show you what you’re made of,” Corcoran said. “Once you see this through, you’ll build the confidence to know you’ll get through anything.”
“There’s no end to entrepreneurship in America. Right now, the next giant company is being invented in somebody’s basement,” just like he started his company in his basement in 1986, he said.
Cuban added, “When we get to the other side, when we get to America 2.0, we can and will make it a better place.”
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
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