7 key things to focus on right now to keep your business growing
Hope is not a strategy! If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, worried, tense or even all the above, that’s normal for the current situation, and you are not the only one. When uncertainty hits about what will happen next, how long will it last, how bad will it get, we go into somewhat of a survival & protection mode. The instinctive “fight or flight” response and maybe even worse the “freeze” symptoms take over and we feel like we just want to hunker down and hide…
This is fear at its most sinister heights which can often make you feel like there is no way out, and this causes stress cortisol to overload the brain, make the rational or executive decision making bit in our brain shut down, and cause our decisions to be made from an emotional or irrational point of view. Then as business owners and entrepreneurs, we start to make quick erratic decisions based on these emotions, driven by fear, rather than the right decisions focusing on the way forward.
“There is always a best path forward – you just haven’t found it yet!”
Here are my top 7 tips to prepare your business for the crisis (and for getting ready to ride the wave of recovery)
1. Take care of yourself– these are unprecedented and highly challenging times and your health is the key to being able to keep going when times are challenging.
- Health: drink plenty water, get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat healthy
- Mindset: now more than ever a defeatist mindset will almost certainly crush you – the world has changed, and you can’t sit back and hide and hope that it will just pass you by with no real effects. You need a growth mindset, one that believes you can improve, grow and rise above any challenges that come your way.
- Avoid Social Media – don’t get caught up in the attention grabbing, energy sucking black hole of social media. Pick and choose your news sources and focus on creating new and better ways to get through this.
- Routines: at some point your community will more than likely go into shutdown and you, your team, your family will be forced to self-isolate. Good routines put you in the driver’s seat and keeps you active and productive. Plan your day from the moment you wake up to the moment you sign off. (see resources for sample daily planner)
- Upskill – what do you need to level up your skills to help you move forward? Invest in yourself for your business growth.
2. Cashflow – we are not even close to the peak of the crisis yet, so you need to assume (and plan) that things will get much worse before they get better. I’m being realistic rather than being pessimistic, and you need to be fully prepared to ride this out, and you also need to plan how you will change your business to not only survive now, but be ready to thrive when things do turn around.
- Worst case scenarios – map out and review: how long can you survive on current sales/ what if revenue drops another 50% next month (or worse)/ what other credit options / extensions can you use/ How will it affect you personally/ are you set up to look after your family? This won’t feel too nice right now but gives you a crystal clear picture as a base to work from, and it will give you financial data to make informed, rational decisions rather than on your emotions or “feelings”.
- Prepare a detailed cashflow analysis and forecast – know your numbers, know what you have, know what you can do
- Review cashflow daily and weekly to stay abreast of changes that will happen in the next few weeks and months.
- Evaluate Options
- Negotiate with banks /suppliers/others for extended terms (they will understand that delayed payment is better than no payment)
- Research government initiatives and help that is available to you
- Offer early payment discounts to your clients
- Offer payment plans to your customers to help them at this time as well
- Cut Expenses – Be aggressive here and aim to cut 40% of your unnecessary expenses out of your business – general rule of thumb is anything that is not needed or not part of revenue generating (ROI) activities should be reviewed.
3. Revenue – if you aren’t making money you can’t survive, so you need to put all your energy into maximising sales and revenues
- Maximise sales generation activities – lead generation, lead nurturing, conversions, average sales, repeat sales/upsells/addons, delivering best practices. My favourite quote is “If you can cut a cheque, the problem will go away” Cash is king in tough times!
- Customers – Forget selling and instead focus on your customer’s problems – even in tough times there are people that need what you have to offer – you just need to find them
– Pivot your message so that it resonates with what they are facing too.
– Stay in touch (Our fruit and veg provider advised us they have ensured deliveries so 1 thing we don’t need to worry about)
– Advise how you are adapting to their needs during this period (ie your hygiene process)
– Explain how you are mitigating risk of contagion (for example – tyre shop allows people to stay in car whilst they change tyres; 5 Star dining restaurant offering premium delivery and take away; Yoga instructor doing virtual classes; Physio supervising exercises via phone camera)
– Other products that you can offer your clients (virtual courses/training, lower cost alternatives, joint ventures, etc)
– Add massive value to your existing offers(extra add ons, extra training,
– Create massive results – do you have a proven system that generates results for your clients? Your clients and prospects may be hesitant to spend but will feel more comfortable if they see a clear pathway.
– Pivot and adapt quickly to market changes – no point advertising live events but could you do it virtually and with an offer to attend the live event once the current situation is resolved.
4. Team – is your team living your business values as they change?
- Communicate with them daily on plans and outcomes. Your team will be in uncertain times as well and although they will be working remotely you need to ensure they stay engaged and productive.
- Share the plan of customer relations
- Brainstorm ideas
- Have clear outcomes of what is expected and coaching for success
- Plan in place for working remotely – routines, procedures, systems, expectations.
5. Focus – pinpoint where to spend your money, time and energy to create the best results (returns) in the least time needed. How?
- Explore – the options based on your outcomes from above
- Review – prioritise and plan what is best for cashflow/ROI that you can get done (if it’s out of your control no point stressing as you can’t do anything about it anyway)
- Pick the 2 or 3 most important opportunities only (avoid overwhelm) remember the other stuff can wait
- Set the 90-day plan with time frames and measurable outcomes broken down to weeks and days
- Execute the plan – you’ve made the plan now make it happen
- Review daily & update weekly- this will be a period of rapid change in the coming months so be nimble and ready to move fast to stay ahead.
- Modify as needed using the Explore/Review/Prioritise method from above
- Systemise any repeatable activities to save time and create clear expectations for outcomes and results
- Reframe and start over (this will get easier each time you do this as you will then just be trimming and refining to do more of what works and cut what doesn’t)
6. Build Momentum – So what happens when there’s an international crisis like the one that’s been thrust upon us right now? For a lot of people, our natural instinct is to protect, hold back, contract, save what you have, don’t lose anything more.
Businesses do not grow on their own.
Anyone who’s ever not paid attention to a business for a time has never come back and said, “Oh wow, it accidentally grew massive on its own.” The fact is most businesses must be coaxed into growing. We must work at them. Only you can make it happen!
- Stick to the plan with monk like discipline – you know what needs to be done so make it happen.
- Don’t get pulled back in to fear mode – review any changes needed as part of the plan – does it make sense / is it revenue generating / does it help cashflow / is it really needed. If yes add to the plan, if no get back to the plan.
- If everyone else is in fear mode and pausing – you will move ahead in leaps and bounds
7. Get help – Business coaching is not a nice to have luxury that you do when times are good! We entrepreneurs are masters of 2 things – complicating our lives and then justifying why we have done it!
One of the things I have learnt personally and continually preach to others is that we can’t do it all on our own. The soul craves simplicity and certainty and it is my job as coach to help extract the best pathway and ideas for your business. To keep you on track. To help you create exceptional upside without the exceptional downside.
This puts you in the driver’s seat! And just imagine that if you can crush it in the current environment – how awesome it will be when the economy does bounce back? And it will bounce back, it always does. Sure it might take longer than we want or hope it will, but it will.
If you’d like to bounce ideas about what could be working for you now, I have some times available for a no cost ‘business breakthrough sessions’ where we can go over some ideas around what are the next most important things you need to be doing to move the needle forward in your business, right now. Nothing to sell, no hard pressure sales, just some space to create some ideas and clarity for you.
About Nimble Coaching
Ian helps entrepreneurs and small business owners build a Simple Business Growth System that allows them to build a predictable profit stream in 90 days without overwhelm and with more free time. Visit www.nimblecoaching.com.au if you’d like to see if there might be some ideas and ways to help you move forward, or call me on +61 412 823 942