Although we are living in tough financial times, COVID-19 does not have to spell the end of our businesses. With a little creative thinking, honest conversation and self-reflection, we can overcome what’s ahead and look to a future with an unshakable financial model.

Running a business can often feel like you are teetering between extreme success and extreme failure, especially when the wind gets knocked out of your sails. Although things might feel that way at times, reality is rarely so black and white.

Now it’s time to adjust your sails. As always, we need to be strategic to protect our businesses. We can easily do this with the survive, adapt, thrive model.

While we’re adapting to all the changes that are happening, there are a few key things we can do to get into a position where we are going to be financially OK.

The steps we take now will ultimately allow us to focus less on how much money we’re making and allow us to focus more on the strategic opportunities that are going to happen in the future, which will pivot us and our businesses further.

How to survive

The main indicator of a business’ success is how much revenue it is making. In order for your business to be financially sound and survive, you need to work smarter, not harder.

Think about adopting a system to present fee options and value fairly to clients. Don’t think of it as charging your clients unfairly; you’re giving them a price that matches the exemplary quality of your service.

Clients are looking for value, just as much as they’re looking to limit fees. So if your system presents values that are equally lining up to the fees, they will feel more inclined and confident to choose your service.

You cannot stay afloat by charging the bare minimum. For someone to receive your top level service, and have your business succeed, you need to charge fairly.

How to adapt

Once we have our cash situation in a comfortable place, then it’s time to adapt our business model.

If you’re in a mindset of fear, you will want to cut absolutely every cost out of your budget, and your fear will rationalize every single part of it. Fear will tell you to build a shelter, hide in it and make sure you stay in there until the sun comes out again.

What you need to do is get to a place where you can look at your finances and clearly see what is a cost in your business and what is an investment.

A cost is something that does not create a return in your business. It’s deadweight in your business, doesn’t create any significant value for you or your clients and it is not strategic.

Investments will always be strategic. They are multipliers that create a return for your business, whether it’s through leads, return or deals. The return could even be an investment of goodwill to support your community. The key to cutting costs and low returning investments is clarity.

How to thrive

Now that you have stopped your business from missing out on opportunities and adjusted your expenses, it’s time to thrive.

This is still a good time to do virtual walkthroughs of listings or Zoom calls with potential clients. When you utilize technology for even the most interpersonal aspects of your business, you may find that you can get more done virtually, and remotely.

Another way to get your business on its way to thrive mode is creating a success map.

When we think of our own financials, we don’t typically think of our end goal, which actually puts us at a disadvantage. If we aren’t clear on where we are going, how do we know if we are headed in the right direction?

Take time to think about where you want to head in your business. What is the end goal? What are you working towards? What does my business look like in six months, one year or even five years?

After you map out your goals, then you can work back and give yourself some benchmarks to accomplish.

Thinking about adjustments in small steps is what leads to the path of thriving.

Although we are living in tough financial times, COVID-19 does not have to spell the end of our businesses. With a little creative thinking, honest conversation and self reflection, we can overcome what’s ahead and look to a future with an unshakable financial model.

In tough times, it is clear that the businesses that survive go into offense or defense — the key here is getting clear and strategic. The businesses that go under are the ones who freeze into non-action.

Kathleen Black is the CEO of Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Connect with her on Instagram at @kathleenblackcoaching or through her website ItTakesa.Team.

coronavirus | teams
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