As business owners, there is always a very real struggle in our everyday lives, not just in times of crisis. The market changes, a new competitor comes into the market, key people leave, or a recession hits. Navigating challenge is par for the course for us as entrepreneurs.
For the last 18 months, we have been in a state of extreme economic uncertainty globally, and rightfully so, business owners and entrepreneurs around the world have been asking themselves, how do I best navigate these challenges we continue to face in front of us?
No matter what challenges you’ve faced, one thing remains true: you should not be doing business the same way you were 18 months ago. If you are, know that you are missing out on major opportunities to not only make it through these times of extreme uncertainty but change the trajectory of your and your business’ growth forever.
People often ask me, "What's the number one thing successful people do?" The answer is, there isn't one, but if there was, the answer would be this. It's the ability to make the right move when there are no right moves.
"Leaders look when others would prefer to look away, leaders stay upright when others would prefer to fall."
— Barack Obama
Now more than ever, the world needs people who can lead. It needs business owners and entrepreneurs who choose to not be defeated by external circumstances. It needs those with unwavering conviction that regardless of how challenging the next period becomes or the past periods have been, they will come out of it better.
The times of our greatest challenges are the times of our greatest growth. Difficult times can diminish us, they can define us or they can develop us. You might not be able to control the global economy, but you can control your personal economy and the economy of your own business.
The core thing that I learned through the near-death experience of my business, The Entourage, in 2016 is never waste a crisis. Always use it to get better. Crises come to make us better, no matter if we're currently challenged or performing better than ever.
I've detailed below some of the core strategies I used to help my business overcome its near-death experience back in 2016 and to help it thrive in and take advantage of the current COVID-19 situation too, to help you make the most of this global crisis.
Want me to personally teach you the exact and in-depth strategies, tactics, and principles that will help you manage and lead every single element of your business so that this period can make you an even better entrepreneur? Access my FREE Bulletproof Business Short Course today and I'll guide you through your roadmap to success.
Regardless of what situation you're currently in, how do you ensure that you are architecting the future in such a way that you are leading and managing your business in the most optimal way? All strategies start with ensuring you are looking through the lenses of all 6 elements of business. In order to build a company in any stage that's scalable and sustainable, we need to be thinking through each of these 6 elements.
This is where you need to be really focused, especially in times of challenge. You need to understand your cash position and have future visibility over your future cash runway and you can do that through the following financial instruments. These will be your number one guides through your periods of challenge.
Financial reports are useful to the degree that they inform your decision-making. This is not about your accountant understanding your numbers. This is about YOU understanding your numbers so that you understand the business. When building financial reports and forecasts, do involve your account or bookkeeper, somebody that can help you build the spreadsheet, but having a clear-cut understanding of the inputs and then making strategic decisions based on the numbers needs to be up to you.
Every other area of your business will be affected by your cash position and your cash forecast. This is why we start with financial visibility and financial clarity. Know your numbers.
See how we can help with further Finance training here.
This is really all about how do you build brand and how do you continue to build brand even when you're going through a challenging period. No longer do you need to rent eyeballs in order to get in front of people. The biggest asset as a company today is the relationship you have with the audience you own. That's why the #1 way to build your business is to build your audience.
Engage in recency and frequency. The best way to do that is through guiding your audience on a customer journey from them becoming aware of you to finding out more about how you help people to them purchasing your product or service to becoming a loyal customer and referring someone else. Read more about how the Marketing Funnel works in our recent blog.
We offer further Marketing training at The Entourage too.
This metaphorical funnel continues into sales where you convert buyers into customers. Don't follow the advice of being on every platform all of the time. Be on the platforms that your audience are, do those platforms well, and then ensure there's an eloquent buyer's journey behind those platforms which take somebody from following you and engaging with you to actually buying from you.
Once a customer is ready to buy from you, ensure that you have a scalable sales process that works. Our blog on the top 5 tips for building an effective and scalable sales strategy shows you exactly how you can do this.
Not only this but ensure you're systemising up-selling, cross-selling, down-selling, and asking for referrals at some point in your customer's journey too.
You can find out more about our Sales training here.
The pillar of product also includes service-based businesses because we should be viewing it as a product and we should be looking to modularise it and bottle its magic such that it can scale.
No matter what situation your business is currently in, you should be pivoting or changing your product right now. Whether it's to help increase cash flow or to improve our capacity as demand increases.
The question is this: Is your product suite optimal for your business at this time? The enemy of progress is habit, especially if you've been delivering the same product or service for a number of years.
Learn more about how to access more Product training here.
Our 5th pillar is operations, however, given this is a conversation around how do we navigate around challenge and uncertainty, now is not the time to be sitting down and writing systems and processes. Now is the time to pivot our product, market like crazy, get cash through the door, get people into an experience that's going to wow them with our product and service them in the customer journey, and lead and manage our people while keeping an eye on the financial health of the business. Operations is not a priority right now.
If you're a business that doesn't need to pivot and change right now, learn how to improve this area with our Operations training here.
All of these pillars are brought together by our last pillar, people. How can you lead your team and people through absolutely anything? Especially in periods of challenge, vision, mission, and values are everything.
Vision is what is the contribution-centric purpose of your business beyond financial gain?
Mission is what do you do every day to fight to move to the actualisation of the vision?
Your values are what guide and govern who you are and who you must be - your entire team. Values capture who you are at your best selves, how do you operate, what your attitudes are.
When you have all three of these authentically, that will create your DNA. It is the resonance of these principles with audiences is what will move you through challenging times.
See how you can take your People & Leadership training even further with us.
This blog is barely just scratching the surface in terms of what any business owner or entrepreneur could be doing right now to optimise their business whether they're challenged, doing okay, or thriving. There are so many more lessons I want to teach you from my business's near-death experience in 2016, as well as the lessons we've gained from helping thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs through our business coaching and training programs at The Entourage.
If you want me to personally teach you the step-by-step practical guide to navigating this challenging period, access my FREE Bulletproof Business Short Course today. I'll be taking you through the tried-and-tested frameworks to not only navigate your business, your team and yourself through challenge, but also prepare for upturns and learn the strategies to self-optimise during tough climates.
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