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COVID-19: Business Survival Tips 



This post was published during Coronavirus outbreak in March 2020.

Don’t panic

Stop thinking about what “might happen.” Stop stressing about your mortgage. Redirect the energy you would’ve spent worrying to being creative and finding solutions, so the “worst-case scenario” doesn’t happen. Instead of worrying about what will happen if you lose your car or your house, think about what you are going to do for this NOT to happen. You are smart. You got where you are right now with hard work and your decisions. You've got the potential to go through this. You got this.


Put your mask on first

When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. The reason why they do that is that if you run out of oxygen, you will be unable to help others. 

You are here to support your business and your family. You need to make sure that you help yourself first so that you can help others. 

Put your mask on first applies to both the personal and business aspect of your life. It is an essential principle in a good economy, and it is even more important now, during the crisis

  • Keep your mindset in check
  • Take care of yourself
  • Work out
  • Do what’s necessary in your business, secure cashflow, make sure you keep clients, before going and helping others

Be transparent and get your team on board

People are scared, your team members are scared. Be open about the situation in your business. Don’t sugar-coat it but also don’t infuse any panic. Facts are important.

You and your team are in this together. Include your team to be part of the fight to keep your business above the water or to grow it, if possible. Support them in their struggles, be there for them. Now, more than ever, it is essential that you show up as a leader, not a boss. Lead them to victory. Don’t push them to do things.

Your leadership style matters

It is a time when you need to act FAST. You need to make decisions and implement them as soon as possible. The world was always fast, but now it changes daily.

I’m a huge believer in a consulting leadership style when you include everyone in the decision-making process. But in times like this, it is ok to take a more direct approach and change your leadership style. “Hey Team, this is the situation, this is the strategy, this is what we’re doing. Here are your tasks”. It is not a time to question or consult every single step of the way. You just don’t have the time available now.

Not a time for gimmicks. It is time for strategy, prioritization and execution

You need to strategically approach your next steps and what you focus on in the coming days, weeks and months.

This is not a time for nice-to-haves. This is a time to focus on the core business that brings money.

If you were considering to learn how to get 100k followers on IG, this is not the time to do this UNLESS you currently have an audience on Instagram that is a good source of business.


Audit your situation

To make proper decisions, build strategies and prioritize, you need to audit your situation. 

  • How is your business going? 
  • Have you lost clients/revenue? 
  • How many? 
  • Are there clients who are at risk of leaving? 
  • What is your cost structure? 
  • How many clients do you need to survive?

To make educated decisions, you need to know the facts and data. If the situation is terrible, it is better you face it than “think” you will be ok. Don’t hide your head in the sand. Keep your head up high and fight. The results of the audit will tell you if you are in a survival mode, and it will impact your growth and spending decisions.

Survival, growth and priorities.

In the current situation, there are two main categories of businesses - those that are fighting to survive and those that thrive because of the good product/service market fit (indoor fitness, online stores, medical, health, supplements, online coaching).

Regardless of which category you fall into, your main focus points are:

  • Cost reduction - go through your monthly/annual costs, line by line and decide what is essential to keep your business running OR growing and what is nice to have. Be very honest and transparent. If you used a SAAS service once b/c, it sounded like a good idea to have it now is the time to cancel the subscription or move to a lower/free plan. Every dollar saved in cost reduction is a dollar of cash in your pocket or a dollar you can spend to grow your business
  • Keep clients - depending on the industry it might be hard to get new clients. Don’t forget about the existing clients. One of your main priorities is to keep your current clients. What can you do to keep them? (Read below about the Domino Effect) How can you upsell other products? What do they need right now, and how you can help them get through this? Why are clients leaving? Understand the situation so you can fix the situation.
  • Grow - perhaps your business is in a position to grow, maybe there is a good product-market fit, and you are gaining clients. Go full steam and grow your business. But if you are not in one of the industries that are gaining momentum now or if you don’t have a product/service that sells, be creative. How can you grow right now? What are the current needs of the market, and how can you meet them? What do you need to tweak to get there?

The Domino Effect

If your clients are losing business, you are at risk of losing them as your clients. Be creative and think of how you can help your clients keep THEIR clients. By helping them, you are helping yourself. It is a win-win-win situation.

An issue a lot of us experience is the scope-creep. It is a situation where your clients keep asking for more and adding more to the scope within the same quote. In normal circumstances, we fight against it. But in the current situation, you can make a strategic decision that it is ok to do “out of scope” work.

Contact your clients

Get in touch with your clients. Don’t just send them an email asking how they are doing. Call them, send them a text. If you sent them an email and they are not responding, call them. NOT to sell, but to talk with them. NOT to sell, but to be there for them. NOT to sell, but to understand their situation. This is important intel you are gathering, AND you are showing them that you care. Business IS personal. Don’t forget about your clients.

This is NOT a time to innovate, but it IS time to innovate

Confused? If your core business is bringing results, if you are doing ok, then this is not a time to invest time and money on innovating and testing a new project. This is the time to take care of your cost structure, protect the core business and grow it, if possible.

But, if your core business is no longer a good fit for the current market conditions, then you need to innovate. You need to find new ways to deliver value and make money.

You know the weirdest products are now flying off the shelves. Toilet paper, rubber gloves, lemon concentrate, anti-bacterial/disinfecting products. You need to be the “toilet paper of your industry.” Innovate. How else can you serve your market? What do they need right now? How can you prepare for what they will need in the future?

What SPECIFIC products/services can you offer right now?


Your “why” will set you free

Sometimes it might feel too close to the business to innovate. Or you have been doing this for too long to see new ways of doing things. But when you ask yourself WHY you are doing what you’re doing, then it will be easier for you to find those other ways HOW you can achieve a similar result.

Activity means business

You need to act. Sitting on your hands and waiting for things to change and pass is NOT an option.

Stay sane

Find 2-3 legit sources of information on the coronavirus. Government and health authorities. Don’t oversaturate yourself with information as it will cause information overload and decision paralysis. The human brain has difficulties deciding if there are too many choices, and you will end up making zero decisions. Spend minimum time a day to stay informed about the developments, just enough for you to be able to make educated, factual decisions. Then turn the tv off, log off of social media and start working towards your goals.

Own it

Own the situation, be in charge. Be the leader. Be the lion. Be on top of things. Don’t go with the flow. Don’t allow the currents to take you to the middle of the ocean as you might realize you ended up where you never wanted to be. Actively row in your boat to get to the destination you want. Don’t worry about the uncontrollable. Worry about what you can control - about your strategy and decisions that are the response to what is happening. You cannot change the uncontrollable, but you can change your decisions based on the information you have.

Key 188

Once you have audited your business and you understand where you are, what your situation is, you need to decide what are the main, key things you need to do. I call it “Key 188”. What are the key priorities, decisions and tasks you need to have in the next 90 - 60 - 30 - 7 - 1 days (sum all the numbers up, and you will get number 188). Your Key 1 and Key 7 need to be put in your calendar immediately. These are the tasks that you need to do RIGHT NOW. Given the super-fast changing environment, your 30-60-90 might change a bit, but the 1 and 7 need to be executed ASAP.


To Invest or not to invest? This is the question

If your business is doing ok now and if your current methods are bringing you sales, invest in growth. But if you have a marketing/sales funnel that does not bring you clients, throwing more money at it doesn’t make sense. Invest smart. 

Be strategic

Now more than ever, it is essential to be strategic. You need to focus on what will move the needle in your business and what will allow your business to survive or thrive. No gimmicks, no BS projects, not tools or nice-to-have online courses. This is not a time to play the game of business. This is a time to build and keep your business. A time where the strategic entrepreneurs who build businesses survive and those that want to have a business without building the business won’t.

I am not saying you should not learn or grow. I am just saying that you should be strategic about it. Understand where you are. Make decisions where you want to go. Identify the path and elements you need and only then make decisions on what tools, tactics and courses you need to get there.

Want to dive deeper into WHY strategy is more important than gimmicks (ex. 100k followers on Instagram)? WHY most of the entrepreneurs focus on the wrong thing (that now puts extra pressure on them and puts their business at risk of failing) and HOW to fix that?  Click
HERE to read an in-depth analysis.

“The best way out is always through” -- Robert Frost


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