When hard times arrive, you have these huge doubts that your life is not working, your business is not working and everything feels like a pile of shit. It never appears that one day you will overcome, everything looks fucking doomed.
Entrepreneurs fear difficult times because most business don’t survive. I dare say that hard times come to kill weak startups and hasten the death of inefficient companies.
Hard times come in the form of recessions, political uncertainty, lack of funds, competition and many other challenges including heavy and unexpected losses in a business. The level of success you can achieve varies directly with the weight of stress or pain you can handle, in other words building a big company comes with bigger pain and vice versa.
The good news is that hard times do not last and hence the need to brace yourself for them because they will surely come.
Sell that private jet
During hard times, you don’t want to continue spending when money is not coming in since customers are holding on to their cash until the situation improves. Any employees and unnecessary expenses should be shed-off to make the business as light as possible. If you usually take a guzzler to work may be its time you considered a fuel efficient car or even a train or a bus. You may need to sell that private jet.
Avoid short-term decisions
When faced with hard times entrepreneurs are under pressure to make short cuts and short circuit themselves by choosing the easier path. For instance, a business that is cash strapped may easily give up too much shareholding to vultures due to desperation for money when just a little waiting may see the climate improve and save the situation. Sometimes one may lose focus and think that he is in the wrong industry but you must not make any rush and short term move.
Avoid excess debt
When cashflow is constrained, you want all the money available to be as productive as possible. Pumping your little money into paying debt is the least you want for your business. Highly indebted businesses are not known to show up at the end of the tunnel when the storm clears, they are swept into the ocean. It is unlikely that any institution will be willing to lend you money when they know you are in trouble, hence the need to watch every penny that leaves the bank.
Don’t let the foot off the pedal
Keep at it, don’t just survive but continue working and stay focused. When everyone is relaxing that is the time to work even harder while keeping your eyes up for any opportunity since every crisis brings an opportunity.
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Let out the steam
Hard times are characterized by intense pressure and stress. The business owner needs to manage stress by engaging in activities that help defray excess pressure especially when nothing can be done about it than wait. Ensure not to let out your stress on family members especially children since the sight of a depressed parent may affect them in the long-term. Don’t let out your problems to everyone, you don’t want to diffuse negative energy everywhere you go. Don’t lose control, people prefer someone who can handle their problems without complaining all the time.
Keep your ears on the ground, you never know when that big announcement will come. It is very easy to lose contact with your customers and other important players in such times. Losing touch with your customers will cost you business because you never know when that period will end and the clients will start looking for your service once again. If they don’t find you when they need you, then they will find your competition and that will prolong your hard times.
Keep your PR engine humming
When the hard times are confined to your company, the media is likely to spot you out especially if you command respect in the industry. The negative coverage can suffocate and snuff life out of your business. You do not want you customers to hear that you can no-longer deliver on their projects. It is therefore important to fend off this media attacks persistently and create the image you want to be seen out there or else someone else will do it.
You don’t need to have a full PR department, twitter and facebook have made that easier. Take to social media and defend your position because many will believe you if some think that you are big enough to attack. Effective Public Relations is most needed in difficult times than good times.
Lookout for bargains
When times are hard for everyone or at least for many people there is normally an array of cheap deals. Look out for anything beneficial deal to your business that someone may be offering for sale to keep themselves afloat. A cheap office space on sale that may save you years of rent is an example of what may hit your head if you lookout.
Stable and valuable companies by have undergone immense devaluation on the stock for unreasonable reasons and if you have excess capital reserves you may want to ease pressure off your normal business to pick up the easy fruit however if you have limited knowledge of the new opportunity it is better to stay away lest to burn your fingers.