Newsflash: Adjusting Your Business During A Crisis
I know folks who were friends of my dad's that survived the Great Depression. Clearly, I was not born yet, but I heard about how they adjusted. I was however, a bartender at the Rainbow Room in NYC in 1987 during the stock market crash—and since very rich folks dined there, I saw that up close when I spoke with some of my regular customers.
I listened as I heard tales of people losing everything—some jumping out windows. Why? They simply could not adjust to a lower standard of living. In crisis mode, I elect to follow CIA Covert Ops Rules:
Adapt, improvise and overcome.
It's crucial in a time that matches the Great Depression, where the housing, stocks, and job markets are all in a state of collapse. Moreover, banks are freezing credit, and small businesses survive largely by using credit. Being creative to keep your dream alive is essential. My company did really well during the dot com disaster because I adjusted.
Every catastrophe has an opportunity. I'm not going to get into specifics because I help so many different kinds of people and companies, but there are ways to adjust every kind of small business. What all business do share however, is that it's a combination of things that need to happen to get through times of uncertainty. Seeing clearly in the dark is possible—don't panic and follow those in fear. But do be alarmed. Breathe, and modify. Think now, and ahead.. What you do. What is the mindset of your client(s)? Are you priced right?
A restaurant need stay open longer, a wedding photographer lower their rates; and if that means meeting at home and giving up your office, then so be it. Survival is the only goal. Don't duck for cover alone. Remain passionate, but map out your plan based on the panic of others. Like Warren Buffet—known as an investor who thrives in all times—step back when others are greedy (he didn't buy into the tech stocks in the 90's), and be greedy while others are in “panic mode,” buying up smart stocks cheaply now.
You need to think “survival mode.” People won't get new cars, so they will need tires—that sort of mentality. Think Walmart. Ebay. Costco. And remember that no matter how bad it is out there, you must stay calm. In a violent storm, the waves will crash against your sailboat.. You must stay engaged and be a good captain, even as the ocean spins you around—look at your map, get back on course, adjust the sails. Get buckets and remove water.
But more than that, remember that beneath the surface of those crashing waves, just 300 feet below the chaos on the surface, the ocean is ever calm and unruffled.
It will pass.
Mark Geddy Smith
Twin Turbo 360
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