The Pause Opportunity
My first business was a thriving public accounting office, built over 5 years. A young friend of mine was struggling to pass his final exams to qualify as a chartered accountant (CPA). I invited him to join my business where he would get a broader range of experience than he was getting from a national firm, he accepted the offer, worked with me for about a year, then wrote and passed his exam. About 6 weeks after we celebrated his happy result, he left our business and took my biggest client with him. It was mid-January; we were starting our busiest season and I was gutted.
Within days of learning of this betrayal Ernie walked into my office. Ernie had been my first client when I started the business 5 years before. Since retired and living in Florida he arrived unexpectedly. He took one look at me and asked what was wrong? I relayed my sad story, he turned and left returning in half an hour with a book.
Tough Times Never Last
Tough People Do
By Robert H Schuller
It was the beginning of my recovery; I went on to grow the business to five employees. It became the first of the three businesses I have started, grown and sold.
The point of this story is that everyone in business suffers through tough times, sometimes personally and sometimes shared with the community. It’s the resilience of you as a businessperson that your loved ones and your community depends on as part of the recovery and future growth.
In many ways how you react now will determine the future success or failure of your business. The clients I am coaching now are already considering how they can position their company for quick recovery and enhanced growth as we get past this current disruption to “business as usual”.
What many are starting to realize is that the current quiet is actually a golden opportunity to look at their business from a 30,000-foot level. Take a good look at a distant horizon and decide where they want to go and what path will take them to that destination.
We call this strategic planning and as the world becomes more complex more and more business owners are recognizing the value of making a written strategic plan. Without a plan it’s like setting out on an ocean voyage without a clear destination in mind, you will go where the current takes you, sometimes with disastrous results.
Strategic planning is about goals, resources needed and timing.
- Goals because you need to be clear on your destination.
- Resources because you need to think about what resources the company has, including human resources, what must be acquired and what financing and infrastructure will be needed.
- Timing, when will you need what, as you work towards your goals?
In tough in times like these you need to focus on near term goals; what are the targets for the next 90 days? But it’s also time to think about strategic goals. Today’s goal may be to meet payroll next week, but this is exactly the time to step back and look at the big picture, to prepare your business for the coming recovery.
This is great time to remember the famous line “Fortune Favors the Bold”.
This opportunity to pause and reflect will be looked back upon, by those who take advantage, as a significant factor in the success they will have enjoyed.