Business has been hit, the money going into your account has slowed and you are not sure about your clients and their businesses. As if that’s not bad enough winter is coming, as are the aftershocks! After looking at the bank balance all you want to do is climb back into bed and pull the covers over your head!
I’m one of those annoying people that has always been good at planning ahead. I do a regular SWOT analysis on my business, but nowhere did I have a global pandemic figured into things! Having been in business for the last 20+ years the one thing I have learned is if it is all up to me all will be fine. It’s not over until the ‘fat lady sings’ – and I haven’t seen one of those nearby in a long time!
It’s going to be hard work, frustrating, annoying and worrying – often all at once! You need to feel all those emotions and get through them, you are after all only human! After that take a big deep breath, calm the heck down, put together a plan … and work harder than you have ever worked before!
The reality is the survival of your businesses is largely up to you, and your attitude or perception of where you are. Given COVID recovery is something we’ve not experienced before I’ve got some handy hints that might help.
Talk to the professionals!
There are going to be all sorts of subsidies/grants available to business. Work out what works for you and your business. As the old saying goes ‘nothing in life is free’! Every cent will need to be accounted for and will need to be shown in your end of year accounts lodged with the IRD. Money coming into your business in the form of wage subsidies/loans will need to meet the minimums set out, if you haven’t met the terms and conditions you’ll be expected to repay that money.
Loans will need to be repaid (bummer!) – even if the interest is low and the repayment term is over a long period of time. If you have a business bank loan/mortgage interest will still need to be paid, or it will accrue and really smack you in the wallet! Can you afford that?(hint – more likely than not they’ll also be looking for some form of guarantee or something on your balance sheet in the form of an asset they can sell if it all goes belly up!)
Talk to your accountant, lawyer, HR professional about what you are doing – they are the professionals and will be up to date with the latest. They will make sure you are doing what is going to work for you and your business – you do not want a ‘bite in the butt’ financially or legally just when things are coming right!
Deal with Reality!
When the proverbial hits the fan it is easy to start freaking out. As humans we tend to ‘catastrophise’ situations (apocalypse much?!). The human imagination can be used for good or for evil.
DO NOT let it take over and run away with you.
Deal with the stuff that you know is rooted firmly in reality. (both traditional media and on social media a lot of what you are reading is people’s opinion’s – it’ll confuse you, and make the situation seem a lot worse than it really is!)
Doing nothing, get nothing. Act and communicate.
Figure out how you can adapt, if you are going to adapt, or how alternatively how you’re going to get through the situation. Do that and communicate with your clients. Keep them informed it gives them one less thing to think/worry about – chances are they will also have a few other things on their mind!
Concentrate on your existing clients
One of the biggest lessons I learned many years ago was to concentrate on the clients you have rather than worry about new clients. A happy client that is being taken care of will ultimately bring you more business anyway!
Forgetting or neglecting your existing clients is the worst thing you could do. Chances are they are dealing with you because you add value to them and their business – keep doing that and you are likely to keep them.
Engage, help, work together and cement your business relationships.
Going through tough times in your business provides an amazing opportunity for you as a business owner to check in with yourself & your business.
Is there any other way to deliver to your clients? Can you do whatever you do better? Can you do it differently? How can you add more value?
I’m a great believer that there always a way to work smarter, as well as harder – after all, that is what is going to put you ahead of your competitors!
Yup, you read that right!
Business development should be top of mind, particularly when the goings tough. The only way out is to step up your business development and push through.
If you spend time ‘rethinking’ your business you’ll have new products, services, or ways to do things that you can capitalise on.
Concentrate on the value you add to helping others and communicate that information to your clients.
Avoid those that are determined the world is ending!
Henry Ford once said ‘whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right!
Please do not spiral into negativity, it’s yucky, keeps you awake at night and stops you thinking straight – coincidentally the only one it hurts is you! Surround yourself with those who are working to get themselves through the situation. Positivity is infectious – it won’t change anything but makes life a whole lot easier!
Getting through tough times individually is hard, working collectively and helping one another is the way forward, you will feel supported and optimistic – even if you know that you have to work your butt off for a wee while. A common goal, i.e., being part of a ‘team of 5 million’ for instance made things just a wee bit easier, right?
Invest in your business
Invest time and money in yourself and your business.
Learn new skills, do some training. Is it time to do that sales plan, rewrite your business plan, do a marketing plan, invest in some personal development, invest in technology – really look at anything that will give your business more backbone and a competitive edge!
Can you do better?
Doing the same thing because ‘that’s always the way it has been done’ simply does not make sense! Try new things, step outside your comfort zone, ask for feedback and advice from others.
Experience is the best teacher, learn from what is happening, figure out what you would do differently and put processes or structure in place that make your business more resilient for the future.
Ask for help (no it DOES NOT make you look dumb or weak!)
Get a Mentor/Coach. Look for someone you admire and/or respect, reach out and ask for help. You will need to be 100% transparent about your business – they will often have advice and experience they can share with you around challenges they have had in business themselves that could be invaluable.
Think of them as your accountability buddy, the one that will encourage you, challenge you and motivate you.
Finally – sending you a big ‘you got this’, ‘yes you can do it’ and a super huge ‘go you’ to see you through the next couple of months.
Go and be the amazing business owner you are – you’ll be okay – you’ve got your own back!