It’s easy in a downturn moment to be flat, blue, down in the dumps, stressed and depressed. Choose a word and I’m sure many of you out there are feeling it. Let’s change that mindset right from the start. Yes, times are tough, for business and individuals alike, but there is always a silver lining around any cloud.
Here are 9 positive things to remember in a downturn and action at this time
1. Adopt a positive mindset
I cannot stress this enough. Mindset for a business owner is critical. You can be ‘asleep behind the wheel’ and say “oh well, it’s a global pandemic and economic downturn” or you can be thinking about how you can beat this. To be willing and able to embrace new opportunities, you should adopt a mindset of tenacity, positiveness, open-mindedness and entrepreneurship. Yes, there will be challenges. Yes, there will be setbacks. Yes, it will be harder work than perhaps you’ve had to do before.
2. Opportunities in a downturn
There are many opportunities out there which are coming to ahead. I know many accounting firms (and bookkeepers) who are busy helping clients manage JobKeeper. I know other businesses who are seeing a switch in how we shop, to leverage new and emerging opportunities. Have your eyes peeled, and your mind open to considering these opportunities. But as with anything new, you should always do your due diligence and thoroughly research those opportunities.
3. The strong will survive!
In times of trouble and where things get tough, the tough get going and strong businesses will survive. In fact (and I know this sounds tough) but it sorts the weak from the resilient. A weak business in good times will likely do fine; there is enough ‘fat’ and margin that even they will survive. But when things get harder, they fall by the roadside and that leaves the strong business which likely will provide excellent service or products and which will be around next year and likely next decade.
4. Move from mediocre to great
With my prior point, there are some businesses who are sitting in the middle. If they don’t work on their business, strengthen it and improve, they may well slide into the ‘weak’ zone and in fact face closure. However, the mediocre business who works to improve can in fact shift their status to strong and resilient and join those who will endure. That move may well incorporate improvement of your systems, increased quality marketing, being strategic and, of course, having a tighter rein on your cash-flow. When cash is tight you will spend that bit of extra time and effort to keep control of it – something every business should do in good times and bad. Unfortunately, when there is excess cash, we value it less and often let these things lapse.
5. Stop constantly watching the news or reading the paper!
I can remember back in 2008/2009 then things were looking grim I would read one of the financial papers every week and it was depressing! All they talked about was doom and gloom and quite frankly it was rubbing off. I stopped that subscription and interestingly the news agency asked me why and said many others had done the same. In this vein, but back on the News on TV or online and reading the paper. Sure, keep informed, but limit that negativity and doom injection to perhaps 3 times a week or just highlight 5 minutes a day. Keep up to date with what is happening in the world, but limit your intake of negativity.
6. Buying opportunities
Whilst some businesses and people are offloading assets, often at excellent prices, others are able to make the most of these great prices (and potential flood of the market) to find some great deals. This may well be tools of the trade, equipment, businesses, property and even ‘toys’ such as boats, campervans and jet skis. Saving money “for a rainy day” doesn’t have to mean that it’s an emergency or that you’ve run out of cash, it might also mean you have reserves available to make the most of discounts, specials and price drops. I’ve said it before and will say it again – do your due diligence and be sure you are getting a great deal. There is no point saving a few dollars on a ‘deal’ only to discover later that there are some costly repairs needing to be paid for.
7. Learning better habits
For both individuals and businesses, they can learn to be less wasteful. In a business, that waste can be physical, but more often it’s the waste of time. Your team will know that things are tougher and in order to retain their jobs they will endeavour to be more productive and this increased productivity, in turn, improves the business. They know the business cannot afford for them to make mistakes, or waste time on Facebook or even ‘pull a sickie’. Your good team will help you to keep the business going and keep their jobs; the ‘slackers’ will probably go by the wayside which for any business is a good thing.
8. Losing bad habits
For both individuals and businesses, they can learn to save more. In fact, this is a common side effect of tougher times, along with sometimes a reduction in debt. It’s a fact, the more you make, the more you spend. Another bad habit is risk-taking. When we haven’t got plenty of money to throw away, we become more careful. One way (of many) of becoming more careful is to assess your risk and perform a risk assessment. Where are the potential risks, how can you remove them, or at the very least, mitigate them?
9. Think outside the box
A great example of thinking outside the box are the businesses who are now making hand sanitizer or producing face masks. Many retail businesses are ensuring they have a strong and effective online presence. Restaurants have switched to takeaway or tap and go. Even in my own industry of business coaching, I am finding that people are more open and willing to have Zoom meetings, rather than face to face. Part of creative thinking is taking an idea and doing something with it. Having a plan, strategy and method to implement are all parts of the process to make your new or varied endeavour a success. It may also involve some client and customer re-education too!
I know some people see opportunistic as being resourceful and others see it as being unscrupulous. I am not talking about taking advantage of those who are struggling or who are in need especially in a downturn, but rather if there is an opportunity or need, then meet that need. The professional who provides help to businesses to access JobKeeper is providing a well-needed service and it’s fair that they charge for this service. If they are ‘gouging’ in their pricing, well, what is that expression … “karma is a bit**!” Make the most of opportunities in an ethical and fair way and you will do well.
Check out my Crisis Business Coaching to help you in any events of crisis or downturn in your business.