crisis Mar 21, 2020
As I write this, we are going through a change in markets, in business, in people that we have never seen before - certainly since the Great Depression. And not many of us lived through that.
Daily I'm hearing of massive job layoffs, of thriving businesses closing overnight.
And we are wondering how deep is the bottom and what will I do to survive?
If you are a business owner - unless you are one of the few that is selling online conferencing, face masks or toilet paper - then your customers have been dropping off like Lemmings off a cliff.
This business - Guy Mullon Coaching - is no different. While yes our coaching and courses are mostly online, our main channel for generating new leads is through making public keynotes and keynotes to businesses.
All of a sudden, all our workshops and presentations have been cancelled indefinitely. The channel for new business has gone.
So as I write this - my top 5 tips to ensure your business survives the Covid-19 crisis - I am writing first and foremost to myself.
So, here goes - the things I am doing right now to position my business to survive Covid-19 and be stronger out the other side.
In Melbourne we have a saying - in fact it got turned into a song by Kiwi band Crowded House - that Melbourne can have 4 seasons in one day.
Don't like the weather? wait an hour and it will change.
Just like we have seasons in the climate that makes certain weather more or less likely, so also does business have seasons.
Business does run in cycles - not always of the same length - but changes of seasons none the less.
Different things can trigger a change of season. It could be the dot.com bubble of unsustainable and unjustified gains back in the 1990's, or it could be the reckless lending leading to GFC in 2007, or it could be a war or world-wide pandemic like Covid-19.
Doing business has changed virtually overnight.
You might think the virus reaction is overblown, that we are over-reacting. Doesn't matter. Perception is reality because the scared people out there are your customers. You need to take your blinkers off as fast as possible and recognize that a change has happened.
Summer is over, we are now in autumn, and rapidly moving into winter.
How long will this season last? Who knows. But first things first is to recognize the world you are operating your business in has changed.
Accept it, and move to step to two.
FAC - Flexibility, Action orientated and Creative.
I believe these are the three key attributes that need to come to the surface during the autumn and winter seasons.
Allow me to explain why:
So I recommend working out each day how you are going to be creative, show flexibility in your business and exactly how you are going to step up your action taking.
It's your choice. The outcomes for your business are in your hands and depend on the choices you make in F / A / C.
I never cared about cash flow in the corporate world. I had no idea what it was, let alone why it was important. But when I co-founded a very very skinny (at the start) energy trading firm, I soon learned that I needed to see and understand current cash flow every single day.
To ignore cash flow during the winter season of business is like riding a bicycle on the freeway in the dark with no lights or reflectors. You might survive, but I wouldn't try it too often. It might get messy.
A business during the winter season gets squeezed from both sides.
On one side, customers are hard to come by and even harder to convince to pay you on time during winter.
On the other side, your costs probably go up and you have less flexibility in your payment terms to your lenders and suppliers. The resulting squeeze can kill your cash flow very quickly.
What to do?
Work hard on making small gains on both sides. Here are some ideas:
Most of all though, watch your cash flow carefully. Profits 12 months from now are no good if you can't pay your bills tomorrow.
Running a business is stressful. I thought being in corporate was stressful, but even when the responsibilities were large I could always still come home and shut it off until tomorrow. Running a business is different. You are it.
Overwhelm is real. Burn out is real, and very very dangerous.
But remember this: Your business is important, but it isn't the most important thing.
Work out for yourself how your business fits into your life-priorities. Keep it in context. I've had multiple failed businesses. It happens, and you can survive.
And so whatever is going on in your business, keep it in context and look after your mental health.
This is obviously a huge topic and the subject of many academic papers, books and courses, but here are a few quick things you can do now:
During good times investing in yourself looks like a luxury, and ad-on that you can now afford. But during the business winter seasons, it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to survive. It is what separates you from your competition, and it is what enables you to cope with additional pressure to see all your responsibilities through to the season of spring again.
So how should you invest in yourself today? Some ideas:
Right now in my business things have radically changed as well. The strategies I'm writing here are as applicable to my own business as they are to yours. For us, one of our main channels for gaining customers has vanished. Gone, as Covid-19 prevents indoor gatherings. No longer can I go into businesses and deliver trainings. No longer can I book and run public events in wineries or health clubs or other venues.
My 1/2 day workshops have also been cancelled, as face to face performance training is no longer an option for delivering value to clients.
Isolation of You Must Not Be Isolation Of Your Business - Guy Mullon
Bit this time of isolation is not a time to isolate my business.
I am in fact expanding to bring in additional services that can help me change and execute faster. Yes, it will require me to dip into reserves. Yes it seems counter-intuitive.
So the choice is to either to hold onto what I have and see it slowly slip through my fingers - like dying from a thousand cuts - or to seize the day and invest in additional resources that give me the capacity to see and take more opportunities than before.
What areas do you need to increase your capabilities?
The best way to lift your game, is to bring in specialised support so that you can do more of what you do best quicker and to a higher standard - Guy Mullon
Is this an exhaustive list? No. Is this all you should be doing? Of course not, but these 5 strategies are strategies that you should give some serious thought to. Bring them up in your list. Elevate them in priority. Every business and situation is different, so there could be other things specific to your situation. This is general advice for this time and season, and not specific to your business.
So which of these 5 startegies are you going to do? Send me an email to guy 'at' guymulloncoaching.com (replace the 'at with an @) and let me know.
Postscript: I am ramping up my capacity to hold more online keynotes than ever. Express your interest and grab a spot now -