If there was one benefit for small business owners and entrepreneurs from the pandemic, it was learning how to pivot, shift, and survive. Lean and mean was the order of the day, driven by watching numbers – cost of goods, payroll, and accounts payable & receivable.
To that end, I believe CPA’s, accountants and financial advisors did a remarkable job helping businesses survive in what was a 2-year business-threatening Sunami. Today, I’d like to give a shout-out to all who worked diligently behind the scenes to keep small business afloat and now are being asked to do it again in light of the current level of economic uncertainty.
With the financial side of the business continuing to be addressed from lessons learned during the pandemic, it must be realized these efforts alone will not be enough to survive the recession that is barreling our way or may already be here as we speak. After all, there’s only so much a business owner can do on the financial end of the business. I refer to this as being reactive – reacting to the times… monitoring, controlling and actions are just a few steps that come to mind.
Sure, it takes being proactive to jumpstart these efforts but from there it’s all about being reactive like a hockey goalie protecting the net, blocking shot after shot but it’s not the goalie alone that wins games. If a goalie is spot-on and does not allow a goal, the best the team can hope for is a tie. The offense must do their job for a different outcome. Even more so from the perspective of an errant deflection that may sneak the puck past the goalie. In that scenario, if the offense is flat, the team loses 1-0 despite the stellar performance of its goalie.
The same is the case with our finance professionals. They could do the best job imaginable on all fronts. However, if revenue isn’t generated, there will be nothing to manage and the business ultimately loses because in business, there are just too many errant deflections. It’s as if the goalie is trying to protect the net when several opposing players are each shooting pucks at him – at the same time! Unless the goalie is an octopus, it’s just not feasible to stop every shot, more less the errant deflections.
Please understand, the proactive measures must complement the reactive ones just as they do in hockey and in any professional sport. It just doesn’t make sense, let’s say to be entirely proactive and leave the rest to fend for itself. Conversely, the same is true. Action plans to battle an economic downturn and ultimately, a recession must include BOTH approaches at the same time. They must be interdependent!
And, as in any sport, the action plan sets the stage before the action starts. It reminds me of a quote from Sun Tzu’s Art of War. It is all about planning, strategic planning.
First on the proactive side must be the development of goals. Not just from the standpoint of a sales figure as a goal but from the various things from which sales are generated. The bottom line… it’s an understanding of what makes up a sale, and how to get to the actual sale.
Questions that must be asked and answered include how many leads it takes to result in an appointment, how many appointments will result in a presentation, how many presentations will result in a sale, etc. Of course, this part of the process must be tailored to your sales process. If addressed honestly, it may actually be determined that the sales process needs tweaking, or even an overhaul. Do not procrastinate at this point. If it needs fixing, it must be fixed!
When addressing the sales process, it must also be determined what it will take to generate the leads necessary to keep the sales funnel full and to the extent goals can be met. This is where some education is imperative. It’s alarming how many business leaders really don’t understand the difference between marketing, advertising, public relations, and branding, often tangling them together. Many also don’t understand how they all work together and/or complements each other. In order to develop an effective plan, the differences must be understood, as well as the complementing benefits.
So, as we look back at goals, they must be established based upon data, analysis, and projections. Informed decisions are always best. The same is true for goalsetting. A key point in this process is to be sure all stakeholders and staff are involved each step of the way. Doing so will go a long way to ensuring they’re committed to the goals, and to the plan. If they’re part of the process, they will believe in the plan. Teamwork works!
The financial side of the business is just one cornerstone of the action plan. Another one is sales & marketing, although I still find it interesting that we always say, ‘sales & marketing’ when nothing happens without a sale. Should it really be ‘marketing & sales’? I only bring this up as I believe there really isn’t one before the other because they’re interdependent upon each other in order to achieve defined goals. You see, one doesn’t work without the other just as defense doesn’t work without an offense, and how being reactive must be complemented with being proactive.
When we resume the series next week, we’ll discuss another cornerstone, ‘customer or client experience’. Does anyone know the fourth cornerstone? Well, I won’t leave you in suspense. It’s ‘culture’. We’ll also pull together all four cornerstones as we set them all in place for a solid foundation. We will take a deeper dive into each and how effectively working together will be key to an effective action plan.
I’m committed to providing as many resources as possible to help small business owners survive, and thrive including current (and aspiring) entrepreneurs, franchisees, restaurant operators, solopreneurs, freelancers and all who essentially ‘eat what they kill’. Meaning, they rely on the money they earn, not a paycheck.
As always, your input and perspective are greatly appreciated.
Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!
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The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me right here on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.