The focus of today’s episode is this topic of “stabilize and thrive”. I know normally you wouldn’t hear the words stabilize and thrive in the exact same sentence because they kind of has different connotations. But I want to share with you what I’m seeing in the marketplace across the hundreds of different businesses that I’m working with each and every week in terms of what is working well to get their businesses back on track.
Now, my disclaimer or Asterix to you is that obviously things are different across different states, different cities, and so on. I’m in Buffalo, New York, in the Western New York area and everything is still largely shut down minus restaurants and essential services. Most other businesses are just not opening and are not opening for the foreseeable future. However, if you look at states like Texas, Florida, and a few other places in Georgia, they are finally starting to re-open some things up.
This really isn’t a conversation around, “are things going to be open in the next week or two weeks or somewhere in the near future?” I’m not an economist, I’m not watching and reading every single thing across every different community—the intention is I want you to do two things.
The first one is to focus on how to stabilize—the whole analogy of “put your mask on before you put your mask on someone else”. So, if you’re sitting on the airplane and like, “Hey, make sure you put your mask on before you start assisting others.”
I need you to really start to look inward, and I need you to start focusing more on your particular situation. I need you to be focusing on you and your family. I know that you have a lot of other things at stake—team members, the community and things like that, but as the leader, if you don’t have your stuff in order, and if you’re having to literally lay in bed at night and worrying about how you’re even going to make the payments on the lease, for example, that might be coming to. I need you to be focusing 100% of your time and your attention around stabilization.
I found that small business and local business owners make very rash decisions when things are going absolutely crazy—when they’re operating from a fear mindset and when they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will share some metrics with you that I hope you’ll be happy to hear about and I’ll tell you where you can go and find similar metrics.
But I need you to stabilize the ship—stabilize your cash flow. Focus on making sure you have enough cash to keep things running. Look at pivoting your business a little bit if needed to drive some cash. I’ve done a couple of different episodes in the last few weeks around pivoting if needed. A lot of you are going to need to pivot, or you’re going to be running into some huge challenges. Things are not just going to go back to where they were three months ago—things are going to be very different for a long time.
You’ve got to stabilize your business first in order to thrive in this new economy or in this new normal. Only after you feel that you’ve done a good job—you’ve stabilized your personal life, your business, your cash flow, and you’ve cut back on some things you’ve had to make those tough decisions so that at least for now, you’re stable.
Now I want you to then shift your mindset to how are you going to thrive in this new normal? What are you going to change—what are you going to pivot? That’s the big word that I keep hearing all day, every day. It’s restaurants having to pivot—if you are largely a sit-down restaurant now you’ve got to pivot to 90% takeout, for example. What can you do to really thrive in these new times?
The metrics and the data that I’m starting to see, and the tool that you can use (I’ve got a lot of different ones) that is free is Google Trends.
What I’d like you to do is to type in COVID-19 and then have it show the last three months and look at that chart. Then I want you to delete that search phrase, type in re-open and look at that chart, which you’re very quickly going to see is that the number of people that are searching for all things related to COVID-19 is starting to shift downward and have been the last couple of weeks.
Whereas the keyword re-open, along with all the other different phrases are starting to shift upward. We’re starting to finally see some light at the end of the tunnel that people are ready to get back to some normalcy in their life. And I feel that if you position things the right way or if you brand your local business the right way—if you go back to your roots, the storytelling, and the “why” behind your business—then you are going to thrive in this new economy regardless of “if a recession hits or not”.
Again, I’m not an economist, you can read all different kinds of things. They just published a story a couple of days ago—50% of people think we’re going to be in a recession, 50% don’t. So I’m not sure how you make those kinds of decisions. I really, really believe that things are just looking up. And, if you start to stabilize your business first, that you then can set yourself up to really profit from this new economy, this new normal, or whatever you’d like to call it.
If you just start to look at some of the different industries that are going to be very easy to thrive, and I mean, cleaning companies, for example. If you look at something and thinking people are not are gonna be buying vehicles anymore—I would argue the exact opposite. If people are going to be going on planes less then the automotive industry should start to boom.
If they’re going to be looking for alternative transportation, maybe people are gonna want to start taking trains more and have a little private section in a train. If people don’t want to come into a retail store, again, maybe they’re willing to do something a little bit different and have shopping experiences with their entire family. If kids aren’t going to be going to all these trampoline parks and things like that, what are they going to be doing? Well, could you come up with activities that you then could take to them for birthday parties and outdoor activities and things like that in their backyard?
So it’s all about stabilizing your business, your personal life so that you can get some more clarity around how you could really play in this new normal—that is the key here.
I believe that there’s gonna be a lot of businesses that are going to have a tough time adapting and thriving in this new economy. But I also believe the exact opposite is true. That if you position things right, this will be the most lucrative time in history that could just quadruple your business almost overnight.
So, stabilize things first, and then you can set yourself up to thrive. Get out there, make a change, and take some action.