Those of you that know me and have either purchased my book or attended an event that I have spoken at, know that the advice I share is based on getting the basics right. By getting the basics right, you can grow your business and your leadership skills that allow you to attain a high level of freedom by removing the shackles of ownership.
Unfortunately, what I preach has never been sexy or opportunistic. These basic, time tested business philosophies are easy to understand and don’t require any special skills to execute. The only requirement is that you spend the time to implement them.
It’s interesting that during these surreal times, with a pandemic raging, that those who’ve gotten the basics right, will be just fine. It’s not that they’re thriving at the moment, as a matter of fact, like most, they’ve had their businesses turned upside down. However, what they have in common is that they have built a financial cushion that will allow then to weather this storm and survive.
Where have all the experts gone?
So this brings me to my question- Where have all the experts gone? Where are all those talking heads with the latest and greatest strategy? Where are those experts, with the can’t miss lead generation program or consumer engagement secrets gone? Where are they now when your world has blown up? The thing is, many are one trick ponies and that’s all they’ve been preaching for the past few years. Sadly many entrepreneurs assumed that by following these messiahs all their problems would go away. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. To be successful, you need to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. And it doesn’t get much worse than this.
Not to be let off the hook, let’s not forget all those government funded incubators and post secondary entrepreneur programs that have encouraged thousands of individuals to become an entrepreneur. Where is their voice in all this chaos? Shouldn’t they, with all their expertise, be offering the small business community actionable solutions or ideas to help them survive?
Based on my research, all I see them doing is regurgitating information on the various government emergency programs and not much else. Isn’t this the time when these organizations should be rallying their resources to help their memberships or alumni? It is, but they aren’t.
30-50% will fail
So with all these so called experts, where are they now when the small business community is being decimated? Unfortunately, many of their followers won’t survive as it is estimated that 30%-50% of small businesses won’t make it through this turmoil. Regrettably, how to prepare for economic upheaval, is something they just don’t preach.
For those successful entrepreneurs that will survive, they have a few of things going for them. They remember the past, are focused on the present and are looking to the future.
History has a nasty habit of repeating itself and understanding that economic turmoil is a regular occurrence that hits entrepreneurs the hardest. And each time it happens it decimates a high number of businesses because they didn’t plan for the worst case scenario. Let’s be honest. This pandemic is the proverbial 100 year storm and is extreme, but it still an economic upheaval. Those businesses that will fail, never placed any effort to build a financial foundation under their businesses. They just kept reinvesting everything in their enterprises.
Much like betting at the casino, those that will survive understand that cash is king and when you’re up, you should consistently take some money off the table and continue until such time that they’re only playing with the houses money. Sadly, many just kept betting it all and now they have no money to tide them over and will become a statistic.
Those that understand the past and have built their financial resources, can calmly focus on maintaining what they’ve built. To be sure, it’s not business as usual and they’re feeling the pain, but having the financial wherewithal allows them to scale down their business and focus on surviving. Although they are still feeling the stress with the current situation, they’re not panicking and are able to focus on reinventing or innovating in a calm manner. Let’s be honest, making decisions under duress is never a good idea, simply because we’re not thinking clearly.
Those entrepreneurs with a financial cushion, know that things will get better in the future and are preparing for the day that things turn around. They understand that when that day comes, they can once again accelerate their business growth and with far fewer competitors they’ll easily make up any lost ground. As an added bonus, they will most likely grow their margins because they’ve either innovated and/or found savings by just doing things a little differently.
Maybe things will change once this is over. Maybe how we promote entrepreneurship will also change, but I have my doubts. Growth for the sake of growth increases risk far greater than necessary and needs to be tempered with a good dose of common sense.
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