By: Jeffrey Hayzlett
“I cannot believe you’re pushing drive and thrive. Now is not the time.”
A fellow “thought leader” said this to me a few months ago. Their suggestion? The best thing we can do during this moment of crisis is to sit it out and wait for things to get better. Man, I’m glad I didn’t listen to that advice.
As we approach the end of 2020, we still don’t know what’s in store for America.
If now is not the time then, when is? My answer remains the same as it did months ago; the time is now!
When you ponder, you squander, and I don’t think any of us has the time to wait for calmer waters. By then, your business has capsized, and you’re left picking up the pieces.
This year has undoubtedly been tough, but I firmly believe that there are still some things businesses can do to keep the peace during this continued economic downturn.
First and foremost, don’t panic! I know it’s easier said than done, and we’ve certainly tested the limits of our patience, but we must continue to keep a cool head. Indulge in weekly huddles for your clients and staff, listen to the problems people are facing, create connections and aim to provide answers and resources that will take care of them for the foreseeable future.
Cash is king. Money makes the world go ‘round and without it, we can’t accomplish much. The Small Business Association recommends forecasting your cash flow to ensure monthly expenditures are aligned with your accounts receivable. Take stock of your expenses – if there’s something you can cut, start there. Some choices will be more difficult, but be transparent with everyone – employees, vendors, stakeholders, and customers. That is key!
The “drive and thrive” initiative is something I strongly believe we should continue to put into place. It’s essential that we, as business leaders, act as ‘Business First Responders.’ We have a responsibility to our community, our employees, and everyone around us to bring as much ‘normalcy’ as possible during a time that has and will continue to test many of us.
There’s a fire blazing through the businesses of America that is challenging the very foundation of our corporations and demands the best response efforts from the country’s greatest business leaders. According to the NFIB Research Center, 76 percent of small businesses are negatively impacted by this global pandemic, while only 5 percent are positively impacted; statistics that may rattle our sense of security, but certainly does not surprise.
I speak from experience as action is in my blood and that’s why I’m emphatic about the ‘Drive and Thrive’ initiative. Don’t get me wrong, that phrase doesn’t mean go out and prospect. You would have to be insensitive to be aggressively selling right now. However, experience tells me that we should be spending every waking moment moving our businesses forward, pivoting and getting creative in order to keep everyone engaged.
‘Drive and thrive’ is for every business, in every industry, to get moving because if you snooze, you lose!
We must get this country moving. There will be detractors that say, “oh, it’s still too soon.” NO! Exactly the opposite! Run as fast as you can to coach, advise, and support businesses – and not just current businesses either. Create a “wish list” of people who you’ve always wanted to reach out to and put yourself on their radar.
Remember, the future may seem bleak, but not everything is dark. Throughout history, some of the biggest companies emerged from the throes of a recession – from Airbnb, to Uber, to General Electric, General Motors, and even Disney. Together, our story can too, rise from the ashes.
So, no. I will not wait. I’ll rush in and take care of business. To the detractors I’ll say go kick rocks. Talk to your friends about missed lunches or how you will not make your premium airline status, because while you wait, I and many others will do our part to make a difference.