Entrepreneurs should face reality, develop a plan for cash flow, move quickly and take care of their health.
- Patricia Asp is president of Compass Executives, a company based in Middle Tennessee.
We’ve probably all been there at some time in our careers. So exhausted that you just want to get into the fetal position and pull the covers over your head rather than get out of bed. It was times like that that I could hear my dad saying, “I didn’t raise a wimp. Get up and get going!”
But the COVID-19 pandemic is different. We didn’t see it coming, and we don’t know when it’s going to end. This isn’t a matter of whether it’s a sprint or a marathon. We really don’t know what we’re preparing for, but we know we are running a race.
A place to start is by defining reality as you know it today. Yes, it changes daily, but you need to start by facing today based on the facts available. What are the best- and worst-case cash-flow scenarios and fixed and variable costs? What innovative offerings can be piloted to replace and enhance revenue? What fixed costs can be renegotiated and what variable costs can be reduced?
Prioritize what needs to happen now. What does your new reality do to our current business models, starting with the new needs of our customer base? Develop a plan, assign the tasks and work the plan. Stay focused, with one hand in today and one in tomorrow.
By staying agile and continually adjusting by trying new things, we can determine which ideas have promise. But we can’t beat a dead horse, and if an idea doesn’t work, we need to be prepared to pivot. We can call it part of the adventure.
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We hear a lot about how certain industries are dying or dead. But our business is not an industry. There are businesses like ours and yours that are not only surviving but thriving. Seek them out. Who is succeeding? What are they doing that is working and what lessons are they learning? We all need to stay open and curious. What are businesses that are not in your industry doing that have potential to be applied to yours?
Take care of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Now more than ever we need all elements of ourselves well rested, calm and balanced. This will be the most difficult hurdle to master. It’s just human to worry, but instead doing that, we need to write it down. Put it on tomorrow’s list and re-prioritize.
You may be thinking, “That all sounds good in theory, but that’s not my current reality. I don’t even know if the business will make it.” But if we don’t face reality, develop a plan for cash flow, work with what revenue is needed to cover fixed and variable costs, move quickly and persevere, we’ll never know if theory and ideas really can create a new future for our business.
Patricia Asp is president of Compass Executives, a company based in Middle Tennessee.
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