Tag: Economic Recession
It hasn’t been a pretty picture. Like most Americans, some of my retirement savings were wiped out. Like you, I read nothing but press about how much fear we ought to be in to the point where many are in a panic mode. Fear not. The biggest lesson in all of this—don’t let you play victim on you.
Here are some ways to coax, encourage, and inspire yourself and others:
- Keep a cool head - Leaders show up in tough times. They are cool under fire. Think FDR, Churchill, a Navy Seal or leaders you admire. They are the calm in the storm. Like a rock. Be that person- even if you have to fake it.
- Be clear about what you can control – Of course you cannot control Congress, Wall Street, the media, or public sentiment, but you can control yourself. For example, while most Americans were spending, spending, spending (there’s a -2% savings rate), others chose to save up for the rainy day. Guess who’s doing a better job of weathering the storm? The point is this—reduce your lifestyle or company overhead to a point where you can save 10% of all that you bring in. If this means moving to less fancy offices or purchasing used vehicles, then so be it. Do what has to be done now so that you can begin saving for the rainy days ahead.
- Prepare for the worst – Any room for denial has passed. I just did a series of CEO talks for an excellent chair in Charleston. He had all of his members run their numbers as if revenues were down 20%. Many took his advice and are in much better shape for it. Here’s my advice: Do the same thing for your personal life. What if your company had to cut payroll by 20% across the board? Would you be able to handle it? If not, begin preparing yourself for that possibility today. Make sure you have a Plan B for tough times.
- Don’t try to figure it out by yourself – One of the advantages the CEO groups have is their ability to discuss openly and candidly their situations with each other. Their feedback and support is valued both financially and emotionally. Point is this—you don’t have to suffer this alone. Form your own “mastermind group” and provide support to each other.
- Become an efficiency freak – I am a nut about not wasting time. I take it easy when my main goal is to take it easy. When it comes to work, I suffer no distractions. How much time are you wasting every day? Whether it is texting a friend, downloading iTunes, checking your MySpace or chatting over nonsense with a fellow employee—cut it out! If you’re “at work” and your activities are not designed to make money—cut them out. This has to be the mantra for you and the entire workforce. Now is no time to waste time.
- Work in your highest and best use – Now that you’re working efficiently, get smarter about what you’re doing. You should be doing work that only you should be doing for your company at least 80% of the time. All of your $10 and $15 an hour work should have been delegated by now. Your value is directly related to your ability to help grow the bottom line. This is business and in the end, nothing else really matters. Point is: know your numbers. Know how you impact the bottom line and be able to communicate that back to ownership. If you are ownership, make sure your employees can do exactly that for you.
- Don’t just think in terms of survival; think in terms of success – Even in down economies, there are companies and executives who do very well. Even if profitability diminishes, there is opportunity to grab market share. So surrender to the reality but be determined to survive. Help clients and customers survive in this economy and you’ll have a sure winner.
- Get yourself a positive mantra - Such as “We will survive and thrive!” When everyone is crying the sky is falling, you have to counter-balance all that negativity with positive messages. Great billboard material for the lunchroom…and your self-talk.
- Keep moving forward - Nobody is going to get out of this overnight. Survival will be one step at a time. If you keep your head up and do what needs to be done every day you will survive.
- Lastly, know that this too shall pass - I have every reason to believe that slow business times will be with us for the next two or three years at least. So, downsize your lifestyle, save for a rainy day, become ever more valuable, and you will not only weather, but survive in tough times.