I generally try and post one article per month, but after much thought, I decided to publish April’s article 3 weeks early because business owners around the world need to read this and share it.
One of the most consistent and predictable reactions to chaos and uncertainty that small business owners tend to fall victim to is the decision to scale back and get small. If you can’t control the chaos, get rid of it, right? Lay off workers, end contracts and try to get back to a non-chaotic state or a state of predictability. But for the sake of your business and the economy, this is the wrong move. It is moments like this that you need to be creative and think big. These moments are what differentiates a real business built to create jobs, save jobs and add value to the world, versus a business that was built to just make money or replace the founders job.
Now, there is no denying that COVID-19 is creating fear, disruption, and illness globally. Some people still seem to believe that it’s not a big deal, while others are ready for the apocalypse. Some analysts say that we are going to go into a deep recession, while others think it’s being overhyped by the media as a turbulent economy/recession by virus is much different than a turbulent economy/recession caused by the financial system collapsing like it did in 2008. But honestly, this is all out of your control. The only thing you can control is how you react to this and how you treat all of your stakeholders (customers, employees, family, community and investors) in moments of chaos. Make sure you do not tarnish these relationships.
Regardless of what you believe about the virus or the media, if you are a business owner or leader you should be observing, planning and adjusting for the market (not only stocks, but for people – their emotions and behaviour) based on S.E.T (social, economic and tech trends).
Knowing that people are panicked should influence your business strategy:
- They will buy much less of some things
- They will buy much more of other things
- They will stop attending some events
- They will change their routines
All of these things will impact business.
Don’t ignore this and go into panic mode. Now is a good time to understand the Stockdale Paradox – “never lose faith in the end of the story”. You must have faith that you will prevail in the end AND you must also confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. This will allow you to focus and make the right moves for the long term.
So, what should you do? Do not be passive and do take your foot off the gas. You need to double-down your efforts and invest in and create growth for your business. Be optimistic and know that a crisis is a great time to gain market share and grow, because much of your competition will do the opposite. This is critically important if you plan on selling your business soon.
Once again, there is no denying that people will be losing money and businesses will be going backwards and become smaller in the coming months, but you don’t want to be one of them!
A volatile economy creates just as many opportunities as it destroys for those that are willing to work harder than ever and capitalize.
I think every smart business owner, leader and entrepreneur should be doing the following:
- Have a very sharp eye on your cash – Eliminate all unnecessary expenses and use that money to invest in growth at your business.
- Double or triple your prospecting efforts – Make more contacts and fill your pipeline.
- Create more social media content – It costs you nothing but hustle and can be a workhorse for you.
- Stay healthy – Eat well, sleep well, and exercise so you have the energy to work hard.
- Be 100% virtual – All of the ‘social distancing’ requirements and cancelled events caused by this virus should be a real eye-opener to the fact that you must be able to operate your business virtually. That’s particularly true of your sales processes.
Now is the time to be super aggressive and on the offense, not the defense. I implore you to push yourself to use every means possible to grow your business and think big!
Stay safe and wishing you all the best.