I have written and spoken many times about this topic. Today, however, my voice is different. The home building, design and furnishings world has been turned upside down with the coronavirus health and economic crisis. How you think about and look at positioning for the future is much different than the past. Your role as leader is different. Your plans and chess moves are different. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I believe there will be a future for most of you if you approach it in the right way.
The Way Forward
The following are a few themes / strategies to help you — or are at least a therapeutic way — to navigate these waters.
1. Redefine 2020 success.
This new definition is probably not a year of growth and profitability; 2020 may well be a year of survival. What would make it successful (through today’s lens)? You need to redefine that and communicate it to others. Is 2020 a break-even year? Is it keeping your key employees and your client base intact? Or is it just keeping the doors open so you can push the restart button in the future?
If you can at least articulate what redefines success this year, you can begin to create a plan and then create targeted, measurable milestones.
2. It’s time to get scrappy.
Scrappy requires getting in the dirt and making it happen. Scrappy puts some processes and systems aside to just make it happen. Scrappy is hard and unfortunately now something we’ll have to do 24/7.
4. Proactively communicate.
Reach out to your team, your clients, your alliances and your family. It is time to lead. It is time to get real. Try to be transparent but also empathetic. Others may not be able to handle the reality.
5. Think four to 12 months out.
Try to imagine a world when it might be more normalized (however, certainly with some scars and pain) What does that look like? There probably will not be a labor shortage. Homeowners will have deferred a lot of necessary work and home furnishings purchases. While your prospects may not have cash, they could still do projects with some creative financing. What do the competitors look like? This is a great virtual discussion topic for your leadership team or family.
6. Cash may be the most important thing right now.
Without cash, your business may not survive. So cash is not only a survival element, it is also the way you can position yourself for the future. Make sure you have as much cash set aside as possible. Collect from those who owe you now. Ask for forgiveness from those you owe with a commitment to pay or make it a loan with interest. If you have a line of credit, then borrow to the limit and hold/use that money to pay essential bills. Use your credit cards more. Map out a three- to four-month cash plan (worst to best case scenarios). The government has put programs in place to help as well. Apply for these small business loans to help with cash flow.
7. Get better at your business.
Now is the time, while you are hunkered down, to get better at your business. Improve your business model, your communication tools and your health. Spend at least 60 minutes a day just devoted to making your service and business better (and ask key team members to do the same). Right now, the one thing you probably have is the gift of time, so there are fewer excuses not to get better. Listen to episodes of Remodeling Mastery. Go back and read articles on transparency or sales strategies.
If you don’t believe this situation will improve, then you will not be able to have a future. What are some themes or adages you need to keep you positive? For example, “success is a verb not a noun” or “This too shall pass” or “People are your greatest assets,” “Time is not on your side,” “Misery loves company, choose not to participate.” The list goes on. For homeowners, their homes are their greatest assets, and they won’t let that die. Begin to build your strategies and tactics from these beliefs to position for the future.
Like you, I am anxious about the current situation too. These are trying times. However, I am also fired up and out there, “making it happen.”