In This Episode

To say we live in uncertain times might be an understatement given the recent and ongoing changes to lives worldwide as we all wrestle with the fallout caused by the Coronavirus and COVID-19.  As a business owner, it can be twice as difficult as you are dealing not only with your personal situation, but also your business.  So how do you plan in uncertain times?

As you can probably appreciate, many folks don’t like to plan under normal circumstances.  But when it comes to uncertain times and your business, as the owner you really have no other choice but to pull a plan together.  The key is where do you start and how do you do it in a way that you can take action quickly?

One of the things we do whenever we are advising a business owner going through turbulent times is to look short-term first.  We definite short-term as the next 90 days.  For you loyal listeners, you know that we utilize our 7 Keys to Success to frame any business situation and that’s no different here.  The question is where do you start?

During the show we shared details for how to get started on the 7 Keys, beginning with Leadership and realizing that everyone in your company is looking to you for answers.  Even though they suspect you might not have any answers either.  So it starts with you sharing the best information you have.  It’s great to get your team involved, but understand that all eyes will be on you so fight any temptation you might have to turn the lead over to someone else.

We then suggest going through the 7 Keys to Success in the following order:

  • Cash Forecast: how far out can you see positive cash in your business? One week?  One month?  One quarter?  How much “dry powder” do you have available to you in terms of lines of credit (from your bank or suppliers), credit cards, or potential equity to inject into the business (from you or others close to you) to fill shortfalls in the cash flow?  The goal would be to have cash positive for the next 90 days.
  • Profit Plan: how much revenue can you forecast at this point for each of the next three months? What expenses can be eliminated, delayed, or negotiated?  Your goal here is to forecast a profit each month for the next 90 days.  This is obviously closely tied to the Cash Forecast.
  • Organization Plan: what changes are going to be implemented when your team comes back to work (if you’ve been forced to close temporarily) or what changes are you making now to protect your team if you’re still open for business? If you’ve had to lay some or all of people off, who would you bring back first when you’re ready to get going again?  Keep these people close to you during this time.  What about hiring people who are now available since they got laid off?  What kinds of changes are you going to make in your systems and technology?
  • Vision: how can you change your business going forward to better prepare yourself for events like COVID-19? What new products or services can your business offer based on the skills, abilities, and experience of your company?  What can you do to reinvent your business?
  • Marketing Plan: what are you telling your customers, prospects, vendors, and team about your business and how you are going to operate? You want to keep your name out there and in front of the most important people to you, starting with all the folks who Know Like and Trust you.  What about looking at an acquisition?
  • Presenting: tailor the above information to suit the audience you are presenting to, from your employees to your customers to your vendors to your spouse.

Keep this simple framework in mind whether you’re dealing with uncertain times or not.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly the 7 Keys to Success can help to focus you on the next right thing to do!  That focus will bring positivity and energy into your organization!


People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show