By Michael Gunther
It is anyone’s guess what our new normal is going to be as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. As business owners, who live with ambiguity on a regular basis as it is, we now live in a world of daily — if not hourly — changes to our normal way of operating. We’re constantly evaluating how we conduct business; our clients’ confidence in making financial choices to purchase services or products; basic sales and marketing activities interactions; and the list could go on and on. On top of this, we have an economy that is certainly going to experience a significant downturn in the coming weeks and months.
First off, how can you create stability if the foundations around you are switching or changing so rapidly? Well, we can own our stress and the concern for the future. We have to address what we are experiencing so that we can acknowledge the true challenges we are presented with in order to address them.
Secondly, define your worst-case scenario. What does it look like, and how will it impact you, your employees, and your business? Which questions do you need to answer to understand what choices you may have to make? Truly build out your worse-case scenario. Do you understand the trigger points when you need to make these decisions?
Thirdly, begin working back to sustainability – do you need to change how you are servicing your clients? Do you need to offer different solutions or products? Do you need a smaller team? Should you be applying for additional credit? This is going to be a rocky road but remember others are feeling the pain, too. Connect with other business owners to strategize on solutions and options.
Lastly, stay optimistically pessimistic. Business owners tend to be optimistic, but now is the time to bring in some pessimistic perspectives as well. Have hope with a dose of reality. Stay balanced, but don’t avoid the reality happening around you.
This situation will make the proactive business owners stronger and sharper. This crisis will be one none of us have experienced and one that we will all learn from if you approach the situation as a leader who is determined to survive and come out the other end even better. It isn’t going to be easy. It will continue to challenge our skills and approaches. But, we have a choice: We can face the crisis head on or choose to go with the flow without any direction or decisions. I vote to face the crisis head on — and you?
Michael Gunther is a Board Member of the Golden Gate Business Association and leads Collaboration Business Consulting, which is a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive individuals build scalable, profitable businesses.