7 Strategies to Survive and Thrive in Challenging Times

The next time we have a pandemic or a financial crisis, plumbers should be prepared to weather the storm and come out a winner.

7 Strategies to Survive and Thrive in Challenging Times

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The high level of distress many small business owners and managers experience during a crisis is unsettling, but normal. When displaced from work and income, it can be comforting to just hide because you are so overwhelmed. Yet those who will recover demonstrate resilience. They catch their breath and move forward to adapt, retool and recover. 

Once the initial shock of an economic upheaval abates, you still need to be realistic. Any distressed economic situation will not resolve quickly. So put your “long game” into play. The long game is your resilience strategy. Here are five ways to start planning your next steps with a more emotionally settled approach while harnessing your inner strength to rebound. 

1. Take an Inventory: Focus on what you still have, not on what you have lost. You still have your skills and knowledge. This is valuable. Is there some other way to use your talents that you have not previously considered? Can you subcontract to others who are getting work to pick up a little cash flow? Can you convert what you do or know to help others? That help might not pay bills, but if you are wise about how you frame it, this could be the new foundation for your long-term future. 

2. Cut Costs: Be brutal about cutting costs to conserve cash. Review all credit cards for any automatic payments and determine if you still need them. Don’t just focus on the monthly charge. Convert those monthly charges to their equivalent cost for a full year. The annualized number is what you should consider. Can you pay more important bills if you let them go? The same thing holds true for your cash expenses. Can you ask employees to shorten hours so you don’t need to lay people off or take a modest short-term pay cut? Ask vendors to lower their costs. Review your phone bills to see if there are savings by switching carriers. The same goes for insurance and utility bills. 

3. Access Resources: Your industry association can be an exceptionally valuable partner to you in a time of crisis. It offers valuable access to information, peer networking and education that can make an incredible difference. Look for changes to government programs or new funding alternatives that become available to see if you now qualify. You might have more options available to you than you realize. But beware of falling prey to charlatans who are offering to “solve” all your problems for a small (or not so small) fee. Vet them carefully.

4. Connection: If your customers are impacted by the crisis too, evaluate options you have to connect with them and/or support them in what they need. Keep in touch with customers when they’re not buying so they’ll remember you when they can buy. When they reach an interim “new normal,” are they ready now for your connection? You must be sensitive to your customers. Do not force the issue. Focus your energies on what you can do for them. Even if it is not for a fee. Think about how communication you employ now can play out over the long term. 

5. Use Your Network: Explore the power of partnership and collaboration through the community you have built. You can often find a tribe of like-minded people online. Your industry associations are also full of people in the same situation as you. Coming together to brainstorm ideas for new approaches and to share news about resources is a powerful way to focus your energies on recovering. Set up a regular call with your peers or allies. It might be each night at a designated time or on a weekly basis. Focus your conversations on resolving problems and forward thinking. FINAL THOUGHTS:  

Over the decades, businesses have weathered recessions, natural disasters, terrorist events and strategic failures. They survived and even thrived afterwards due to the choices they made and successfully adapting to changing circumstances. They focused their mindset on short-term survival and their intention to achieve long-term success. They leveraged unexpected opportunities into cash flow, connections and tactics to survive and even thrive. You can do the same!  


Jill J. Johnson is a speaker, author and president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services. Reach her at www.jcs-usa.com. 


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