3 Steps Business Owners Can Take When “it” Hits The Fan
Running a business is hard. All.The.Time. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Simply put, not everyone is cut out to be the lead dog. It’s hard even when things are going well. Decisions on who to add, what products or services to push, where to go, when to push, and making sure you stay true to your ‘why’ are stressful and difficult in itself. Controlling business growth and assuring quality and culture are unaffected is a challenge that most business owners don’t see coming.
For today though, I want to focus on when things aren’t going well. When things out of your control rear their ugly head and cause you to have to dig in and get ready for the fight sliding backwards instead of the one going up. Good companies can survive and even thrive in both. A backslide in the market for instance, can eliminate poorly run competitors where a good market will hide their inadequacy many times. A down turn will cause you to reassess what is important and create an environment of efficiency versus the free spending culture that can come with run away revenue. Either is difficult, but here are a few steps to dealing with the down side that will help you hold your ground and start climbing your way up again.
1. STAY CALM.
This may seem like a “duh” moment, but I’ve seen many business owners get emotional and “trigger-happy” when crisis sets in. Life is a challenge, strap yourself in and get a helmet. This is true across all the verticals of your life; staying calm is key. Making decisions and formulating a plan when you are “charged” with fear, uncertainty or doubt is never a good idea. Take a breath…have a seat…and realize that this situation is exactly why you are in charge. You are the one everyone is going to look for as to how to react to the news. You are the leader. Hopefully, you have prepared for this moment and it is not a surprise, rather it is an unfortunate turn of events that you are ready for.
2. ASSESS YOUR SITUATION.
The rise of television shows focused on surviving tough environments like the desert or the jungle has spotlighted the second step of dealing with a difficult situation. Once you have caught your breath and are making logical decisions, figure out what information you have, and what tools you have to deal with your predicament. As I stated earlier, refer to your plan you made preparing for this moment. Collect your information. What is your revenue situation? Cash situation? Accounts receivable and payable situations? Who are the key people you need to make sure you keep? Who is expendable at this point? Gather as much intel as you can so you can move on to the next step.
3. MAKE A DECISION AND GET MOVING.
I have a vision of a king sitting in his castle as the walls crumble around him. He sobs as he watches the fruits of his labor crash around him until eventually there is nothing left and he has perished with his kingdom. If I am in a position where things are crumbling around me, I am going down swinging; how about you? Make a decision based and press on. If you make no moves you can assure failure.
Things such as labor shortages, down markets, losing team members, failed ventures, etc., are all a reality and rest assured that you will experience them at some point if you are in business long enough. Those things don’t solely cause the failure of your company. A lack of planning and subsequent effort most definitely will though. You can leave it to “fate” or “luck” or whatever you want to call it, but a well thought out plan will beat those in the long run every time.