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Show Notes: How Small Business Owners Manage Crisis
Being a small business owner is challenging in the best of times. During periods of economic uncertainty the challenge of how small business owners manage crisis becomes more difficult. In 2020 we're faced with those economic concerns but they are combined with a serious global pandemic and the groundswell of social and cultural shifts.
Any one of these would be stressful enough on its own but combined it is understandable that many of us are under a great deal of stress. Where do we go for ideas on small business crisis management?
Each other of course!
Social distancing has, in large measure, removed some of our traditional coping tools, many recreations and social support.
I hesitate to use the term 'unprecedented' which seems to be getting thrown about; however, it's clear that we are living in a difficult time.
As I thought about all of this I wanted to find a way to pull back the curtain on our isolation. Rather than just finding solace in shared difficulty I wanted to produce a show that allowed business owners to share their own experiences dealing with crisis and thoughts with other owners as well as share with the customers the best way to safely support local businesses.
Let's pivot to profit!
Introduction to the Pivot to Profit Segment - How Small Business Owners Manage Crisis
In this first episode of my new segment I just want to let listeners know what to expect and share a bit of my own experience on the two businesses I own and operate.
My Three Goals:
- You are NOT Alone!
- Share Experience & Successful Actions
- Share Safe Ways to Conduct Business
First of all the regular episodes of Up and to the Right will continue. Pivot to Profit is a supplementary audio only production designed to complement the regular show.
The focus of Pivot to Profit is to have real, on the ground, discussions with business owners just like you. I want to make sure that business owners know that they are not alone during this difficult time. There are a lot of us out there coping with similar problems. We can learn from each other and that’s a huge part of the value of this segment.
The second piece is the opportunity to share actions both successful and less so in order to help each other learn and grow and continue to operate during this crisis.
Finally, I want to provide business owners the chance to share safe ways for their customers to purchase products & services. This may provide listeners with ideas for their own business as well!
My COVID19 Experience (so far)
As you probably already know I own and operate two distinctly different companies; Directed Energy & Beyond 50 Percent.
Directed Energy provides high voltage & high current pulsed power equipment for a variety of international markets. It’s a niche business but relies on the international economy and the needs of a relatively narrow list of customers.
Beyond 50 Percent is a service based consulting practice I started to help entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The impact of the pandemic on Directed Energy has been very serious. Our sales dropped substantially and after a few months of reduced income I had to make the decision that business owners never want to make. I had to let team members go.
These were people I’ve worked with for over 10 years so they are friends as much as coworkers. One thing that made the situation better was that I have always been very up front about the financial position of the company and going into 2020 that made it clear that employment positions would have to be eliminated.
I’ve reduced expenses and worked with vendors to put Directed Energy in a cash neutral position. The good news is that we are able to continue operating, serving customers and shipping product.
The takeaway is being able to recognize the action required and taking it even when you really… really… don’t want to.
Beyond 50 Percent
The business for Beyond 50 Percent is significantly different than that of Directed Energy. As a professional consulting services company there is no inventory to hold and no direct employees aside from myself. I use carefully selected independent contractors for accounting, marketing, graphic design, web development and other business services. This provides much more flexibility and reduces the direct impact of COVID19. However, I had decided to put more of my time into Beyond 50 Percent and arrange Directed Energy so it needed less of my direct input.
For Beyond 50 Percent I’ve had to change my growth expectations for 2020… not what I’d hoped for but I’ve taken time to hone my messaging, tweak the website and take care of other ‘background’ business operations so I’ll be better positioned to move forward.
You’re Not Alone!
As I mentioned before and I want to say it again because business owners often feel isolated.
“You’re not alone!” There are a lot of us out there and we really are all in this together as a small business community.
Actions & Results
The actions I’ve taken have been:
- Stay in Control of Cash
- Reduce Costs (even when it hurts)
- Take the action I can - focus on process improvements, refining product offerings etc.
Safe to Work and Safe to Conduct Business
For Directed Energy our customers are all out of the area anyway so their ability to conduct business with us wasn’t affected by the Pandemic. Our employees keep a safe distance from one another combined with remote work and the use of masks we have had no incidents of illness.
With Beyond 50 Percent the impact on customer interaction has been more significant. I was about to launch a live, local workshop series that had to be put off and shift one and one conversations to web video as much as possible.
Wrapping Up How Small Business Owners Manage Crisis
Do you have an innovative solution to a COVID19 problem? Email me at [email protected] to be a guest on the show… share your message!
Click the link above or use your favorite pod catcher to listen to the full episode.
Thanks for watching or listening!
Up and to the Right is live weekly - check the Podcast Page for details about when we're live and where!
You can subscribe to the Up and to the Right podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn and now there’s even a playlist on the Beyond 50 Percent youtube channel!
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