Your greatest gains can come in the middle of your greatest pains. Few too many people seem to understand this, but it’s true. It all boils down to making a choice, one where you can either let fear drive your thinking, or you can be driven by the opportunities that always exist in front of you.
So, which do you choose? Fear? Or opportunity?
Those that choose fear will no doubt crumble in situations of crisis. Those who choose opportunity are strivers: the business owners who can adapt to the situation at hand without ever losing sight of their defined personal, professional, and financial goals.
But this choice doesn’t happen without having the right foundation under you. The best, most enduring legacy-businesses are built on an uncompromising, solid foundation of the following:
- Strategic plan
- Annual budget
- Development and monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Timely and accurate monthly financial reporting.
Your people are your business. Business isn’t about what you do; business is about who you do it with. People move businesses, and the success of your business is only possible if you have an exceptional accounting team. Experience, attention to detail, the ability to handle crisis situations, efficient with deadline-driven personalities — these qualities are a must for every team member of a 10X business.
Your strategic plan is the roadmap that fulfills your long-term vision. You, of course, must define clear goals for your business, but you need to also prioritize those goals. What are the most important choices you need to make for the business, and who is going to be held responsible for executing on them? This creates transparency, sets expectations, and defines accountability in your organization.
Your annual budget is a reflection of your company’s long-term goals. Your budget should align with your company’s goals. Department heads and key decision makers are critical in allocating where money needs to go in a crisis, but be careful to not lose sight of your personal, professional, and financial goals. Even when it’s tough, you must make the difficult decisions that favor the company’s longevity versus its temporary relief.
KPIs tell the story of your future by coloring the context of your present. Don’t forget them in a crisis. You should always be monitoring the KPIs that are relevant to your business’s growth, and it’s especially important that you continue this habit during a business emergency. In good or bad times, if you’ve set a goal, you need to be able to measure it. Don’t get distracted by vanity metrics. Be mindful of the data points that relate to your strategic plan: track, analyze, refine, and improve.
Timely and accurate reporting means transparency. It also means opportunity. Do you know how many businesses do not have real-time information about their present performance? They’re making decisions that will affect their future by shooting in the dark. Accurate, relevant, timely reporting can fuel your business, and it can create the exact information you need if your business is eligible to apply for government assistance in economic emergencies.
Time and time again business owners will ask me, “How can I make sure my business’s foundation is set up for success? What can I do as a leader to make sure that we survive an emergency and come out on top?” The answer is simple. You need awareness. At all times. And in some very specific ways. Here’s what I mean:
Solicit feedback and guidance from experienced advisors. Who are you turning to when times get tough? When you need to make quick decisions that have massive impacts, are you making those decisions alone? Worse, are you following bad advice because it’s the only advice you’re getting? Surround yourself with great people and mentors.
Analyze your company’s financial health and budget. Are you paying close enough attention? Do you know how and why you’re spending money where you are, and the anticipated return? You need a rock-solid financial team and your business needs rock-solid leadership, meaning that your awareness is essential. Be present, stay on top of the right KPIs to know what progress you are (or are not)making, and you’ll have a deeper understanding of your staying power.