Today’s topic is this, what should you be doing to prepare for the pending downturn.
There’s a quote that I have really loved hearing and it’s been a while since I remember the quote but it basically says “Everyone wants to be the lion”.
But when it comes time to do that lion’s work, they don’t want to actually put in the lion’s work and I’m sure I’m butchering the quote. But in essence, it’s really saying that now is the time that you need to be the lion. Now is the time as business owners, that have your families to feed, that you have your staff’s families to feed, you’re taking care of your customers, your businesses, if you’re b2b. Now is the time when you need to rise up and be that lion.
So I’ve given you a variety of content over the last couple of days of some of the things that we’re doing to prepare – talking about how we’re communicating with our clients, talking about how we’re actually being proactive in our marketing among other things.
I wanted to give you a little bit more content and a few more tactics around what are some of the other things that you should be doing largely from a marketing standpoint, but I may jump in the zone of a little bit of business coaching at the same time.
So the first thing that you really need to hone in on and really nail down is you’ve got to know your numbers inside and out. You’ve got to know what your bottom line is, you’ve got to know what your cash reserves look like, your payroll, profitability, you’ve got to know all of your numbers before you start to make heavily strategic decisions that could potentially be catastrophic decisions.
Like everything, I’m going to add several air quotes or several asterisks. And in this case, obviously it depends on the niche that you’re in. If you’ve got a local b&b or a local hotel, for example, the chances are pretty high that you should be shutting your doors at least for the short term. Temporarily laying pretty much everyone off. Obviously, anything relating to tourism is essentially dead unless you’re providing some kind of corporate housing or things like that.
But step one is you really have to know your numbers and be monitoring your numbers each and every single day. And are there some tough decisions that you have to make in the short term? largely around personnel? Do you have some extra people that while they’re helpful, that you kind of put them in place to scale up over the next three to six months a minute? Is there any fat around your business that you need to very rapidly trim because you really have to heavily keep an eye on your numbers at this very moment because this is the time when a lot of people will start to ignore things?
And sadly, they often end up going close to bankruptcy if not bankrupt, because they think that everything could potentially recover faster than it actually does.
So step one, get clear on your numbers, make sure you know what things look like rather than look at just over the next couple of days, the next couple of weeks next month or two, and that is going to help kind of guide you over the coming days in the coming weeks.
Step two, is not only looking at your payroll and your team, just start to look at are there any other unnecessary things that you should start cutting to free up some cash flow that you can redirect? Do you have expensive sporting tickets? I mean, all the sporting stuff is closed. There’s some fringe benefits that maybe you can pause for the next couple of months.
So I’m always advising especially before a downturn, you really just take a heavy look at some of the expenses that you may be able to put on pause for the short term because I really want you to start to horn a little bit of cash and redirect it where you see fit.
Most business owners cannot afford to weather the storm and they just can’t get creative. You need to really start thinking outside the box. Start looking at other ways to drive income. I’m seeing a lot of things that involve kids like karate classes, music classes. that, yes, they’re currently closed. But why couldn’t you get something set up on GoToMeeting or zoom, and do something fun like that, and you might not be able to charge as much. But it’s not that all of a sudden, every single person is unemployed, no one has any money. And especially if they’re sitting at home, I mean, we just got an email an hour or two ago that the school district that we’re in is a very, very well known school district in the area, and they don’t have any kind of plan to send homework or lessons or anything like that. And we just were completely shocked.
While you’re reducing expenses, I want you to look at what can you do that’s a little bit outside the box? More things that we’re doing, we’re going to start to go outside of the niches that we normally serve, we’re going to start to offer some free stuff to restaurants that smaller mom and pop restaurants that had to close their doors, but they can offer take out well if they don’t even have a website or anything like that. How are people going to find them in place? Orders. So we’re starting to offer that stuff completely gratis. You’ve got to start thinking outside the box and start getting a little bit more creative with your existing business model.
Now, here’s the piece that I really want you to start to think about. This is the best time to redirect some of that cash flow or that cash savings. Investing back in your marketing, I want you thinking about the following:
- Are there potential competitors or complimentary businesses that aren’t gonna be able to weather the storm that you could potentially pick up for pennies in the dollar?
- Are there blogs or domain names or new sites or media sites or things like that, that you can start to acquire and start to grab that particular traffic, for example?
- What are some of these different things that you can start to grab and acquire for pennies on the dollar?
I want you to start getting your message out there more. I want you to start being more active on social media, being more active on video, Facebook Lives, LinkedIn lives, I really want to start seeing you a lot more active than you have been if you know that almost everyone is literally sitting at home in self isolation with their devices.
Now more than ever, they’re going to be online, literally 24/7. If you can start to find creative ways to tie your brand in with local news and tie your brand into their news feed and what are you doing to weather the storm? Talking about your team, talking about your staff, talking about how you’re helping the local community. This is the time to dig in. This is the time to dig in and double down.
So again, if I’m looking at what are those couple of things that you need to do immediately to start preparing, first one relook at and know all of your numbers backwards and forwards. What do you have, what don’t you have and if you’re literally running, day by day, then you’re gonna have to make some really, really tough decisions. Because what I don’t want this to do is to literally drive you into personal bankruptcy and further ruin your life. But if you’ve been running very, very close to the line, it’s going to be a challenging time, the next couple of months for sure.
If you’re ideally able to then start to cancel, delete, pause some of your memberships and extra fringe benefits largely to you. I’m not saying like start taking away health insurance from your team. But if you can pause some of those fringe benefits and then I want you to redirect that cash and double down on your marketing assuming that you can financially weather the storm. But scaling back on your marketing is going to massively hurt your business over the coming years. It’s going to take a solid year, year and a half for a recovery. But if you start to double down, I promise you you’re going to wind far better off than you are today.