'Shark Tank's' Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary offer advice for small business owners

As the coronavirus continues to turn the world of small businesses upside down, the “Sharks” share tips on how to stay afloat during this uncertain time.
7:05 | 03/30/20

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Transcript for 'Shark Tank's' Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary offer advice for small business owners
forward, we're kicking off our week-long series "Ask the sharks" with Damon John and Mr. Wonderful, Kevin o'lowery. We know that you both have invested in a lot of small businesses, and daymond, how has this been impacting those businesses? Yes, I'll go first. My business of course and a lot of small businesses have to worry about how they're going to keep their employees and how they're going to reduce costs, so initially what I'm doing in my company and small businesses are doing, they're asking their employees what have they not done in the past and where do they see options for revenue. A lot of employees are entrepreneurs and some of my best ideas that we're starting to implement right now came from people who have been employed in the company and they always have wanted to do this and now here's their shot. Kevin, what about you? I'm telling you, we have to survive. We have to keep ourselves open for the next 60 to 90 days and we have to reach out to our suppliers, our landlords, our employees. The key is to keep the DNA of the business intact so that when we come back out of this incredible, unique situation, we have all the building blocks we started with to spring right back into business. I did a call, a zoom call just like this last Friday with all my companies and we brainstormed together for two hours. The key is to survive, just stay alive and hopefully get some of that bail money, the grant money in the next eight weeks. We have some questions from some small business owners. We're going to start with Ian who owns a gym. Take a listen. I'm the general manager of brick New York, a boutique fitness gym based here in new York City. I wanted to ask your advice on how to avoid slipping into the red as a membership-based small business whose users are currently stepping away. Daymond, what can he do to stay afloat? That's funny, I met somebody in New York City who has a gym as well. They have been leasing out the equipment to their members who are stuck at home so they keep their membership price and they've been having all their trainers as well broadcasting from the empty gym or from home and doing peloton type of lessons with their community because the community is already paying. You want to keep them healthy. Now they're going to have some equipment that you're not using. I think that's one of the first steps that you can do to extend this access to your members while they're stuck at home. Kevin, what's your take? Go to the landlords. Generally 33% of the cost of running a gym, say I need a deferral for 90 days, you can tack it on the end of my lease. If he says no, tell him to call me and I'll post to 4 million social media followers to somebody who's not playing ball. That will get his attention. Guys, our next question comes from Tracy who owns a pet spa. Take a look. Is it a good idea for small businesses that have had to close down to offer gift card sales for future use to bring income in now or will this cause issues down the road? Kevin, what do you think about businesses offering or selling gift cards right now? Bad idea. People need immediate satisfaction at a time when they don't have any income or they're worried about their jobs. Most companies that are primarily retail have some kind of list of customers. If you're selling cupcakes for example or any other product that wasn't retail, reach out to their sell numbers, their email numbers and say, look, I'll ship it to you, I'll send it to you. Gift cards are a tough sell in economic difficult times. People don't think that far ahead. Daymond, what's your take? Yeah, I agree. You can't give somebody a promise if you don't know if you're necessarily going to be around. Now, if you have inventory and you are then giving them an option to get the inventory at 50% because you have $1 million worth of inventory and each customer can buy something at 50% off, that's immediate gratification. You don't really know where the business is going. None of us know where our businesses are going right now so gift cards are a really bad Our next question is from Susie in New Jersey with a essentialized cake business. I own a baking business that makes custom cakes for special the coronavirus has completely halted my business. Can you give me tips on how to stay relevant and the forefront of my customers' minds so when we go back to normal people will think of me first when they have their events? First of all, become the Rachael ray or somebody where you're teaching this stuff on YouTube or channels. How do you collaborate with other people that are already selling products and/or goods to these people. Do you find somebody who are selling decorations and say my cakes are 50% off if you add this to your mailing list. Really give a lot of content where people can become the best baker they ever wanted to be once they get out of this situation and when they're too busy to bake because they follow you they're going to buy more and more cakes from you. Kevin, your advice? I have a question like that, a famous "Shark tank" company called wicked good cupcakes. 30% of our sales until 14 days ago were corporate clients. That has gone to zero. We've gone back to individuals who have bought from us for special events like birthdays or weddings and made them a phenomenal offer. Help each other out. We'll give you a great deal on cupcakes and that's how we pulled back all of this corporate business that we lost, now with our family of customers we've been working with for five years. People care, that's what we're learning about. People care and they want to be part of a solution. It's an amazing time in Eric M, but people care. Kevin, I have to ask you, do you live on the "Shark tank" set? I'm wondering that myself. I've become a zoomologist. You want a different background? I've got hundreds of pictures. I love this. You should see the pajamas I'm wearing right now. We'll skip that part but we will get to our last question from Rachel who owns a restaurant. Take a look. My husband and I own and operate a restaurant here in Chicago and we're wondering what the stimulus package means most immediately for our employees that we had to lay off temporarily, what it means in addition to unemployment, in place of unemployment. Kevin, why don't you take this one. Here's the issue. If you're looking for that jobs act money, if you want to call it that, or the bill that just got passed, the whole intention of that bill is to keep the profile of your employees intact. Laying off employees may not be a good strategy. In other words, it's better to get everybody else to fund your business. Keep your employees being paid for the next eight weeks and then go after that helicopter money the fed is giving you. I don't like the idea of laying that's not what we're doing. We're making everybody else pay, our suppliers, landlords, everybody else until we can get this bill to work for us. Gentlemen, thank you for your time and advice. It is much appreciated.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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