Sometimes you are struck by online marketing, and not in a good way. I think the author Catherine Aird was correct – “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”
This week, one of the LinkedIn paid advertisements messages that came across my feed was “We will make you an expert financial analyst in 1 week”. REALLY? 1 week, 1 course, 1 anything and you are an expert? Give. Me. A. Break.
This type of marketing wastes time and money to push out and inevitably destroys something even more valuable – TRUST. Don’t do it!
I can show you a lot of tricks in a short time and give you valuable insight that comes from 25 years of experience, but becoming an expert takes time, effort, and thought. There are no magic bullets out there, stop looking. Stop listening to promises that are destined to be broken and start putting in the effort.
I see many folks
struggling to adapt to the curve balls Covid-19 is throwing right now, and
I grew up on a commercial farm and have been working with Ag businesses for over 25 years. That experience has given me a unique perspective on the current economic environment brought on by Covid-19. In agriculture, every day has the potential for disastrous events, many of them completely outside of your control with far reaching consequences. Early or late frosts, droughts, floods, disease, wild price swings in your products and supplies, all can dramatically impact your business. So what can you learn from Ag during these trying times?
- Take care of your people. Period. You need your customers, vendors, employees, and your family to make it through tough times. You take care of them, they take care of you. Alienate them, and you will never recover.
- Cash Flow is critical. I like to think in terms of the good, bad, and ugly scenario planning. This year, I am including a really ugly category as well.
- Stop thinking in terms of absolute numbers and start thinking in probabilistic terms. Play the odds for success.
- Highly leveraged businesses are at high risk. Borrowed money is an accelerator, and it works both ways – up and down. Its it probably to late to change your debt position, but think about that as banks try to loan you money. Banks have marble floors for a reason.
- The higher your risk level, the more cash reserves you need.
- Adapt to changes quickly. Be flexible and fast. What worked yesterday isn’t going to work tomorrow.
- Diversification can be a good thing. 9 times out of 10, my advice to entrepreneurs is to focus, because they have so many ideas, they need reigned in. But businesses that have multiple income streams and diverse customer bases are in a much better position now than those who are dependent upon a single customer or single income steams. It works best if you build complementary and synergistic segments.
- Mindset is everything. Focus on what you can control, work on the biggest problems first. Recharge each night so you can be fresh the next day.
- Tough times are followed by good times. Think long term to stay focused on what matters most. Your monthly and quarterly targets are gone, position yourself for the long term.
- Remember, hard times make for great managers.
Step back, breath
and think logically. Put numbers to
thoughts. We are in this together, don’t
forget to ask for help if you need it.
Put aside the fear and get excited to be thinking differently and
challenging the assumptions we once knew as fact. You can do this, AND make your business
better than ever.
Stay apart and stay
I worked with a restaurant owner on his food cost management system. He was meticulous about keeping his food cost under 30% of sales and had worked out the cost for every item on his menu in a spreadsheet and could rapidly look at the impacts of price changes to his bottom line. A very nice management system to say the least! However, he would regularly add all of his food vendor bills and divide by total sales for the week and he was coming up with a food cost of closer to 40% of sales.
I was called in to help him figure out the error in his spreadsheet and he was suspecting he had a theft problem. It didn’t take long to confirm that his calculations were correct, and he was starting to look through security tapes with a grim look on his face. While he started down that path, I looked at the other half of his double check, the total of the food vendor bills. Turns out that he was getting all of his paper products like take out containers, napkins, cleaning supplies, from the same vendors. The consumables accounted for the difference in the food cost percentages.
Sometimes it’s the small things hiding in plain sight that trip you up.
I truly admire Jenny Lawson. Her post this morning really struck a cord with me: http://thebloggess.com/2018/01/31/escape/
We are all stronger than we think we are. Jenny fights a thousand demons each day, and yet manages to write books, blog posts, and keep on moving. Entrepreneurs must do the same thing. Some days you win, some days you lose. But each morning, you get up and get back in the game. We are stronger than we think we are.
But be careful. Strong as we are, the mental illness rates for entrepreneurs is significantly higher than the general population. Alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, depression, anxiety, anger issues, suicide, you name it, we have got it in spades. There are some games you DON’T want to win. We tend to push ourselves harder, take on more stressors, and not take care of ourselves. Pay attention to your mental health, because without it, you risk losing much more than your business.