For all of you small business owners out there who are responsible for over 75% of the revenue that gets transacted every day in this country –
These should be your top 4 priorities in this time of crisis:
1. Your “A” Players:
Talk to your best people and make sure they are ok. You don’t need to have all of the answers, just communicate what you do know, where you (and the company) are at and what the current plan is. Streamline communication regarding the crisis through yourself or one dedicated party to avoid confusion. Then listen – what do your key people need and how can you support them during this time. That support could actually be in helping them help you – key people need purpose and to feel like they are making a difference.
2. Your Customers / Business Partners:
Some of them are hurting far worse than you. Work with both your key customers and suppliers. Treat them like partners in seeing the big picture and what you can accomplish together through a long-term relationship – it will only build loyalty over the coming decades.
Remember that post-dated checks and written promises to pay are a non-negotiable intent to pay, and there is no back and forth when presented in a legal proceeding.
3. Your Company:
If you have money, pretend you don’t. Act like you are a Startup where cash flow is a matter of life and death. Assign a dedicated person to collect on Accounts Receivable, contact suppliers and service providers asking for relief, and keep updated on government assistance programs and funding. Consultants (lawyers, accountants, and coaches) have time on their hands right now, reach out for ideas and if they put you on the clock, reach out to me – I’ll refer great people who see the bigger picture in these unprecedented times.
Now, let’s not forget the most important priority:
These times are unprecedented when it comes to misinformation, blame, uncertainty, and fear. Yet out of those four, there is only one thing, and one thing alone that causes stress:
So, when there is uncertainty people want certainty and they turn to you, the business owner, or management team member for answers. In the past 6 weeks I know 3 business owners who have experienced break downs mostly because of pressures around family, boards of directors, employees, banks, suppliers, management team members, and employees who want answers. Well if uncertainty causes stress, and you are the one who is supposed to provide certainty in these uncertain times, guess who assumes the lion’s share of the stress?
On the plane our flight attendants tells us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first because we are no good to anyone else if we cannot breathe.
Well here I am asking you to consider doing the same for yourself. Write this on your bathroom mirror:
“It’s not my fault”, and “I don’t have the answers”.
You only realize how much stress you are under when you look backwards, and the past 6 weeks have been stressful for you so my question is:
What are you doing for you?
Every morning I walk at least 3 miles listening to a book, practicing a speech, and doing a little running. The air has never been fresher or the view more transparent. I eat well, and I have not been drinking alcohol.
Put blocks of time in your calendar for when you are going to move, read, and look after yourself. I highly recommend the book The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Meditate, starting with just five minutes a day if you’ve never done it, and go to an app like “Headspace” which is a great place to start.
As the visionary, leader, or hunter in your business, never before have so many families relied on you to be disciplined, accountable, and connected. Get up early, dress well for your remote meetings, and “be the example” of what you want to see in your teammates.
Reach out to me at any time if you would like to talk.