3 Ways To Achieve Business Success
By: Alex Shattuck
We will forever have a pre-covid and post-covid world. Our businesses certainly hold no exclusion to this claim. If anything, the business world may reference this time even more so because of the economic devastation we’re seeing to small businesses across the country. Right now, much of what we’re experiencing is unavoidable, and this can be extremely frustrating. The state of our businesses today, in 2 weeks and even in 2 months is, in some ways, out of our control.
Although we don’t have complete control of the immediate future, we do have immediate control of how we respond during this time and this directly impacts our future. Our response right now gives us complete control, not of our short term, but that of our long term position within our industry.
Below are 3 ways we can choose to respond to achieve success in a post-covid world:
- CAPITALIZE ON YOUR COMPLACENCY
I reached out to my good friend Jon Moore, one of the owners of Foster Coffee Company, last week to see how he was doing and how the business was going. His response was exactly what I would have expected from him. He did acknowledge the hardships but immediately threw out that he was “pumped” because of the new actions taken to get through: providing curbside service, mobile ordering, and 1/2 gallon to-go iced beverages to name a few. Each were ideas that they had been talking about but not actively working on or rolling out. These new revenue streams that will bridge the gap between now and the post-covid world won’t just go away once they come out on the other side. They will be additional revenue streams within the business indefinitely. These were ideas they had for months but their business had been rockin’ so they hadn’t taken action. Success makes us comfortable and this is when complacency can creep in. Now they are capitalizing on their complacency and setting themselves up to come out on the other side of this in a better position than they were going in. Their struggles won’t go away overnight but I’m confident that in 12-24 months this business will be doing better than ever before.
We all are complacent in our business to some degree. Now we’re being exposed by it. In what ways has this pandemic exploited your complacency? How are you going to respond? What dreams and ideas for your business have you been pushing off because you’ve been comfortable? You most likely are already taking action on some out of necessity. You are in survival mode. That’s okay. It’s more than okay. The fact you are improvising is freaking awesome.
My call to action here is this: be sure to slow down enough to recognize these actions and build out a process around these so you can leverage this experience in the post-covid world. If you haven’t yet taken action, spend some real time thinking, and even dreaming, about your business. Think of ONE thing you can do today to help bridge the gap between now and the post-covid world that you can continuously leverage to positively impact your business for years to come.
- RECRUIT LIKE CRAZY
Well gang, no more claiming that we can’t find talent in our 50 year low unemployment economic environment. 22 million Americans filed unemployment over the past 4 weeks. I don’t know how long this opportunity to go out and seek the talent we’ve been waiting to find will be available. One thing is clear though: the window is now open. Don’t wait for it to shut again.
I’ve heard some say that the unemployment wage is set too high so we still can’t compete. Even though the unemployment wage is a fair and a livable wage for many, the A players you’ve been seeking most likely won’t settle for that pay rate, nor will they feel comfortable with their uncertain future. Simply riding this thing out and then figuring it out later isn’t in their DNA. And yes- this mentality also applies to millennials. (I am one)
If you are having trouble narrowing your recruiting focus I want you to answer this question: what are the industries that have been hit the hardest, that have employees with skill sets that are most transferrable to your business? Pick that industry and let the world know you are recruiting individuals that have been laid off from that industry and why you are pursuing them. If you have a business Facebook page, post about it and boost that post in the geographical area that you are targeting.
There’s most likely nothing more impactful to your business than landing a rockstar. Even if you don’t think you want to hire right now… recruit anyways. You may be thinking that you can’t afford to hire. I agree, if you are going to settle. If you are able to hold off from hiring mediocrity and are able to find a rockstar- you cannot afford not to hire. Now’s the time.
- DIVERSIFY REVENUE STREAMS
Assuming your current business is profitable and you are taking money from the business to pay your bills- your business is a revenue stream for you. Earlier I mentioned adding revenue streams within the business but I’m now wanting to share thoughts on adding additional revenue streams outside of your current business. You might be thinking, “what does diversifying my revenue streams have to do with my business.” Fair question. If you are relying solely on your one business (one revenue stream) your business is much more likely to not make it through future disruptions. You shouldn’t think of a second revenue stream as positioning yourself to be spread too thin or “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Don’t feel guilty for having more than one revenue stream. Our business is not our spouse. We can, and we should, have more than one.
Here’s an example showing the importance:
Maybe your expenses at home are $6,000/month but you take home $10,000/month. Your business grosses $480,000 annually, or $40,000/month. The $30,000 left after you take your $10,000 each month is enough for all operating expenses (including payroll and taxes).
Okay, now let’s assume one day there’s another major business disruption. Maybe it’s another pandemic, maybe it’s a terrorist attack, maybe it is the next bubble or depression… whatever it is- let’s say your business revenue drops from $40,000 to $20,000/month. Uh-oh. This scenario will bury you unless you have a whole lot of cash reserves or MULTIPLE REVENUE STREAMS. Cash reserves are extremely important to any business but the problem with relying solely on reserves is you don’t know how long this disruption will last. You have 6 months of operating expenses in cash reserves? That’s great! Unless the disruption last 7 months…
Let’s get back to my example. If you had a second revenue stream that covered your minimal expenses, $6,000/month, you could then not take any of the $10,000 you were taking from the business. By leaving that $10,000 back in the business it now has the $30,000 it needs to function and you still have your $6,000 that you need to function. Whether the next disruption lasts 3 weeks or 3 years- you and your business will make it through. Not only will you get through but you’ll be one of the lone survivors which will position you to dominate your market as you come out on the other end.
With recruiting I asked you to find an industry that has employees with transferrable skill sets to your business. When researching additional revenue streams consider your skill sets and what other business ventures they are applicable to. Start there.