Cutting costs to maintain business sustainability and spending money are far from mutually exclusive.
If your cash is vanishing faster out the door in expenses than your sales efforts can pour it back in, then the focus on controlling costs needs to become an obsession. However care needs to be taken with identifying when and which costs to cut. There will be occasions where spending some money may actually make even more sense, if you can possibly afford it. Cutting some costs now may also force you on to a terminal course for your business, unable to make your way back out the other side quickly enough to be competitive and profitable in the long term.
Clearly all businesses need to batten down the hatches quickly whilst this particular virus-based storm front rages towards and over everyone. It is still unclear as to whether there will be a calm after this storm, or whether we are just reaching deep into the Roaring Forties with a cyclone turning into a gale, into a downpour and possibly back up to a gale again.
This is where cool heads need to prevail. Spending time right now on setting your business up for the prevailing conditions, and for the next few months is going to be crucial for weathering this storm. This may also mean you are going to be better off spending some money wisely to make sure you can firstly get through the storm, but more importantly can set off more quickly out the other side.
You can be the best widget maker ever, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are the best at trying to work out how many widgets are going to be needed, nor what shape they may take in the coming months, nor how people want to buy them, or if indeed they are ever going to want to buy them again! Ideally then the best widget makers should be lining up to consult with the best strategic and business thinkers they can find and afford, to try and help them continue their businesses successfully into the future. They should also be preparing to review every element of their business to see how it is likely to need to change over the coming months.
So with the shameless business plug covered…what should we all be thinking about now?
There seem to be 3 distinct phases to this particular journey into previously uncharted waters. With the standard sailing analogies included.
Those who get through these phases the quickest will be the winners long into the future. The best way to navigate quickly and safely through this time is by having a plan that allows you to see where you want to be at the end of this storm, so the sooner you start working on that plan the better. It is not too late to start working hard on this now, but once others are back up and running, it may be very hard to catch them.
Whilst this is all easy to say, the details of getting through them are complex and uncertain, will require hours of planning and an ability to be supremely flexible. It may also need a little bit of investment in dollars as well as time to make sure your business remains On-Course during and long after these storms.