Who knew that a pandemic would throw us all such a curveball this year? Or any year for that matter. Regardless of where it began, what the statistics really are, or what they really mean – the Covid outbreak remapped almost everyone’s business plans for 2020 and beyond.

However, it is good to keep in mind from a business perspective, weird stuff always happens. Our true capability to manage a business successfully is based much more on how we handle difficult situations. Who remembers the dot-com bust? What about 9/11 and how it felt to go to work that next week? The big bust of 2008 was devastating to so many business owners, including myself. I recall sitting down with my business partner making plans and wondering if we were going to make it? (and doubting that we would)

But we did. Here’s how we did it and this is what I advise all of you to do as well.

Look at every one of your expenses and get rid of 100% of them that you don’t absolutely need. Renegotiate your leases if you have them. Ask for lower rent for the next year and ask for abatement for three to six months. (these payments can be moved to the back end of your current lease so you will still pay them, just not now)

Renegotiate your own salary as well as looking at your managers and employees pay. While it is not easy or comfortable, it is necessary to consider cutting wages so you can save jobs overall. These are the times that business owners earn their stripes by making the hard decisions and having the hard conversations.

Call your vendors and ask for better pricing and for better terms. It doesn’t matter if you have an “agreement” because if you don’t survive, your vendors suffer too. Be willing to look everywhere and talk to everyone to get your costs down as low as possible.

These hard times are growth times because they require that we prune our business organizations to get rid of deadwood, floundering projects, unnecessary or unproductive employees, services, and products. The trees that yield the most and best fruit have been pruned.

Once this pandemic passes, and it will, your business will be in a healthy place to grow. You will have your focus on your core offerings of service and products. You will have been disciplined to plan your work and work your plan because you had no choice. And you will be a better business person because of it.

You will be part of the 9.7% of businesses that survive past the first 40 months that claim the lives of 90.3% of the rest of the businesses. Not because you had the best SEO, not because you had the coolest website, not because you had the most creative concepts for digital media and marketing but because you were willing to do the hard work of cutting back, saying no to yourself and others, and focusing on your core business offerings that you are excellent at delivering.

These times of eliminating waste, lowering expenses, and focusing on efficiencies set the stage for the greatest growth your business will ever experience.

Hold the line. Persevere. Focus.

This will pass and you’ll be better for it.

7th gear coachingBusiness owners and entrepreneurs are invited to take my Free Online Assessment on the main page of the 7th Gear Website.