What doesn't kill you... (you know the rest).
YOUR BUSINESS CAN SURVIVE THIS. IT JUST WON'T BE HOW YOU WANT TO DO IT.
Hey guys and gals, it's a cloudy and cool Friday morning here in Castle Rock, Colorado.
I wanted to take this moment and take you on a walk down memory lane over the past 20 years of my entrepreneurial life.
First, this is NOT a letter from Scott of Kitchen Traffic. This is a letter from Scott.
To give you some context, I am not a multi-millionaire although I have made millions. I'm no business guru, but I have started and ran 7 different business that have all done 6 and 7 figures like clockwork, and I have helped hundreds of companies make tens of millions of dollars in sales, so if anything, I have been in the trenches of what it takes to be successful, and more importantly, grateful for the people and business leaders I now have the privilege of calling most of them friends.
None of this is important really, except for this ONE THING-
THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL SURVIVE IS YOUR WILL TO SURVIVE.
I survived the Dotcom burst of 2000, the market collapse after the 911 Terrorists Attacks, but also lost a ton of money.
I survived the 2008 Housing Crash, but lost $400,000 dollars.
And now I'm going to tell you EXACTLY how your business can survive the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic and actually come out the other side!
FIRST - THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Look, I hate feeding the fear mongers. I hate the 24 hour news cycle and pretty much hate the fact that everything on social media is false narratives. But, PERCEPTION IS REALITY. And the current reality is that you and your customers are dealing with a ton of uncertainty right now.
This Coronavirus thing has real legs and is already costing industries billions in losses. People in general are scared and they don't know where to turn.
Here is my unsolicited advice. If you are like me, you are probably an overly optimistic person, but right now, you need to embrace the changes that are happening.
This is why the next few steps are going to be critical that you consider. Because they are the the steps I refused to follow in the past and why I lost those businesses and all that cash.
REVISIT YOUR PHILOSOPHY - NOW, AND GET IT ON PAPER This is your personal and business philosophy, intertwined with your future self. This is the thing that drives you, that meets your personal and professional goals, the road map that you created for your future. Just like when you take a road trip to go skiing in the mountains and an avalanche has blocked I-70, you still PLAN to go skiing, you just now have to take a detour. Having a road map or as I like to reference my personal PHILOSOPHY is my recipe. Sometimes I run out of an ingredient or two, but the making of my signature dish never changes.
BE HIGHLY VISIBLE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS
It is imperative for you to step up and become a highly-visible leader during uncertain times. Your customers honestly don't care about your products or services, they just want to be happy. In unhappy times, you have to reassure them, let them know that you are there for them. You have their backs and best interest at heart. In addition, do not hide. Even if things are going south for you, be transparent, open and honest and by all means DON'T IGNORE THEM!
I’m telling you one of the mistakes I made in the past was acting like everything was going to be okay and normal. You need to openly talk about the NEW NORMAL, in fact the more open you are, the more people will gravitate to you.
TIP: Start a weekly blog, do a video on Facebook or YouTube to remind your audience, your customers, your prospects and even your competitors that YOU ARE HERE FOR THEM and not going away.
In order to build up deposits into your bank account, you must build up deposits into your TRUST account. This will be hard, but like I said, what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger.
DOUBLE DOWN ON YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS.
Read the book, the 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. It chronicles how he went through the crash of 2008 and was literally going to lose everything he had, and even being sued for $60 million dollars all at the same time.
This is a lesson I have seen over and over. Marketing should never, ever, EVER be based on what you make in a month or a quarter or a year. Marketing dollars should be spent based on creating and retaining customers every month, every year, every decade. If you have a certain amount allocated for marketing, keep it going - DOUBLE IT. If you have certain daily activities geared towards marketing, keep it up - DOUBLE IT. If you have the means to buy more market share in a recession, do that and DOUBLE IT. If you don't have the cash than DOUBLE your efforts. Get on Facebook Live DOUBLE times a day, a week. Send out a "How to do this" email 2 times a week. Call all your customers by phone, just to say hello 2 Times a month. Send out postcards 2 Times a month (hand written letters if you cant swing for printing costs). Whatever you do DOUBLE IT. Here’s why. The majority of your competitors are going to retract and there is a good chance they may even go out of business. This is called OPPORTUNITY. Doubling your marketing efforts will help you stay top of mind and increase market share.
Here is the thing, if you shrink back, stop being visible, stop putting in the effort to take (or at least hold on to) market share, then IF you survive this next down period, when the dust settles, you will literally be starting from scratch. I know.
HERE'S A HELPFUL ARTICLE FROM 2008 - https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/marketing-your-way-through-a-recession
GO ALL IN ON YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
If you have not been doing a good job following up, keeping in contact with and generally just being a human to your customers, well, NOW IS THE TIME.
You should already know EXACTLY how much each customer is worth to you over the life of your relationship with them. If not, get that number NOW.
Next, you need to reassure them that no matter what, you are here for them. Even if your business should falter, keeping those relationships intact will be a huge boon for your next adventure. Trust me, I know. I DID get this right and it helped me launch a new business later and I have built up that trust of being super reliable.
Finally, strengthen the relationships with your top 20% of your customers. Call them, email them, create a weekly chat session, checking in on them. Maybe do a virtual coffee as a group of business owners and leaders. Become their advisor, not just their supplier. Lock arms with your customers and look for creative ways to help them weather the storm as well. They will be loyal to you FOR LIFE. And if the majority of your customers survive the economic downturn, the ride back up will be amazing!
GET INTO A MENTORSHIP GROUP
No one has ever done anything meaningful by themselves. Even world class golfers, tennis players, skiers, gymnast and other SINGLE ATHLETE professionals including cornhole throwers have a team.
FInd a local or virtual mentorship program where like minded, strong-willed, highly focused entrepreneurs and business leaders gather. THIS IS NOT NETWORKING.
A mentorship program can be one-on-one or in a group setting, But find the people that refuse to give up, refuse to let a down economy ruin their hopes and dreams. Get into a group that understands that CHANGE IS NOT BAD, that CHANGE EQUALS OPPORTUNITY and if you find the right group to be in, the creativity, the passion, the wealth of external experience and insight could be the RECIPE that helps you keep serving and feeding your customers, your employees, and your family now and into the future.
I needed to write you this letter. I am scared. I hate not being in control. But worse, I hate not having a plan, a recipe. For those of you that know me and how much I love to cook, the cooking is the means to an end. What I love most about cooking and owning a business that helps other businesses make more money is this one thing - I LOVE TO SEE THE SMILES ON YOUR FACES.
This is why I wrote you this letter with my failures and successes. This is why I want you to take the practical steps #1 to #5 that I have outlined here. These are the things I failed to do in the last bubbles/recessions/downturns etc.
Do these 5 things and I know you can not only survive this current SUCKY situation, you will actually come out on the other side so much stronger.
I am here for you, personally, professionally, creatively, collaboratively, in good times and in bad times.
Call me or email me if you want or need to talk.