When you look back over history, it is the long term investor who does well, especially in times of uncertainty.
Today’s papers are filled with headlines that drive panic. Don’t fall prey to it.
Your business future will be decided by your calm approach and mindset today, and how you steer through today’s obstacles.
With this in mind, I have 6 pointers below that will help you and your team to thrive during these turbulent times.
1. Remove the fear.
Fear fills the empty voids created by a lack of knowledge and lack of data, and lack of leadership.
Your job is to fill the voids and remove the fear within your organization, by giving people the reassurance, information and direction they need to move forward calmly.
The key is to not be frozen by fear. It’s not the chaos and not the virus god-willing that will kill you; but rather your paralysis due to fear.
2. Share the burden, be open.
Don’t try to figure everything out yourself. Most owners wish their employees had an ownership mentality, but most owners don’t teach their employees how to think like owners. Shame on us.
No time like the present.
Have open conversations with your team, give them facts and data and let them understand what your goals and obstacles are.
Share the worst case scenarios, and then share the better case scenarios. And develop plans for each scenario, with your key leader’s buy in.
3. Share your cash flow projections
For years, I have been talking about open book management, and now you need it more than ever to get through this.
But many of you will need to add “cash” to that sharing.
In order to survive and thrive you must manage your cash flow; every scenario mentioned above has a cash flow ramification. Let your team help in removing expenses, deferring costs and saving cash in all aspects of your business.
There has been a run on toilet paper this past month, but that costs money! Assign all aspects of your budget to different team members, so as a team you can reduce non-needed expenses-––including toilet paper.
Build up your cash reserves — and if you have not done so yet, start now, and make that an ongoing goal. Secure lines of credit, defer loan payments, get better payment terms, ask your vendors to share in your pain.
Our banks are in better shape than they were in the last recession. Smooth out the cash flow dip (just like they say to flatten the Corona curve.)
4. Focus on the future
A long term client of mine, John DeLisle, grew right through the 2008 great recession, and he may well grow through this upcoming recession; he has the team, the talent and drive to do so. Are you prepared to grow and take advantage when things bounce back in 2021?
Innovate your services: Stay as close to your clients as you can, closer than you did last year, and figure out the services they both need and want.
Keep selling and reaching out to clients, get innovative with how you will meet with them.
Don’t huddle and hide, you will miss the resurgence.
Keep your vision for growth in the front of everyone’s mind. Keep the building mentality strong. We are builders by nature.
5. Protect Health and Jobs
Set up your company so that everyone stays safe, and no one passes sickness amongst each other. If you have divisions, set them up to run physically independent of each other.
Protecting jobs (and your company that supplies those jobs) is key. Get prepared for the upturn by keeping your best talent that you spent so long cultivating.
By being open, and letting your people help solve problems and innovate solutions, you will have the best chance of holding on to them.
6. Stake in the outcome
As Jack Stack (Author of the book, A Stake in the Outcome) declares, employees with a stake in the outcome will outperform those just showing up to a job. So if you ask your people to make sacrifices this year, also give them a stake in the upside, and the win you hope to achieve this year and next.
We are in this together!
Your challenge – Keep your team in the loop, and collaborating with one another.
High levels of communication from you will establish high levels of trust with your team—assuming you show a steady hand and a focus to the future, with optimism balanced with short term decisiveness.
How can I help you? Do you need a 15 minute phone call? Let me know.