6 Things Business Leaders Should Focus on in Uncertain Times
You’ve heard it said over and over again this year… these are unprecedented times we are living in. No one would have predicted a year with such wide-ranging challenges, from a pandemic to hurricanes and fires, to historic unemployment and the economic fallout that has been unleashed around the world. As a professional that owns or runs a business, you’ve probably had to adjust and adapt in unexpected ways. Some of you have felt as if your scrambling and scraping to get by instead, putting stress on long-term stability.
The level of uncertainty that has been forced upon us has been beyond disconcerting. Determining which moves to make to preserve financial stability and future opportunity has been tough. A turbulent economy and unsure times don’t always have to spell bad news though. Like with previous major downturns, there are ways to weather these storms.
Times like these require us to fine-tune and re-focus some of the key business strategies we utilize during normal times. With a bit of enhanced thinking and strategizing the expert team at Mosaic Family Wealth can help you ensure long-term survival rather than feeling as if an imminent collapse is coming.
Make sure you are well-versed on the following business areas:
- Finances: Add It Up
Many business owners tend to loosen the reigns when cash flow is solid, and profits are on track. To ensure long-term success we encourage leaders to make plans for the down days too. This requires having a strong handle on key numbers and planning for the unexpected. Even if you have financial management in place, never take your eye off the bottom line, or the details that contribute to the success of your enterprises. Two important performance metrics you should track are:
- Cash flow – As the lifeline of your business, plan in advance to compensate for the inevitable cash flow fluctuations, making sure to maintain sufficient reserves
- Profit Margins – Make sure you understand the factors that fuel your long-term profitability and stay aware of potential vulnerabilities to help you prepare to handle unexpected changes.
Having a strong handle on the financial aspects of your businesses provides clarity, gives you flexibility, and informs the best strategies to implement when times are tough.
- Clients: Double Down on Value
For many people, investing more in your clients seems counter-intuitive during economic downturns. Most tend to cut costs to maintain falling profit margins, usually at the expense of client services or engagement.Remembering that clients are the lifeblood of a thriving business though might encourage you to do all you can to preserve client value. When the economy gets better and business owners have more stability, those organizations that remained committed to enhanced engagement will see a long-term payoff.It’s okay to pivot your approach to make this work. Value is not always equal to giving things away. Consider other ways you might be able to serve your core audience, perhaps through the development of rewards programs, buy-one-get-one offers, time-limited deals, donations to civic causes triggered by purchase volume, etc. Value can also be created by adding new features or expanding how a product is used. If your business is service-based, consider offering free clinics that educate your audience, or host consulting hours or provide white-papers or blog posts on relevant topics.
- Marketing: Renew Your Positioning
Another area that often gets chopped from the budget when the going gets tough is marketing. This can be among the worst moves you can make since it eliminates one of the most crucial ways to make sure you are seen by your clients and differentiated from your competitors.Instead of canceling all marketing efforts, it’s better to find time to review the performance of each channel or tactic and streamline based on an understanding of the activities that are driving the biggest value to the bottom line. You might uncover parts of your marketing strategy that have been dead weight for a while or not yielding as much impact as you assumed. Make sure you have a qualified marketing expert helping you as they can identify trends, guide you on best practices, and help you understand how much flexibility and time is needed before a tactic demonstrates value.Once you have a handle on the big picture area related to the corporation, turn the focus onto yourself as a leader.
- Time: Every Minute Counts
There’s nothing more valuable in the life of a business owner than time. During tough economic periods, this is even more true. Owners and business leaders should be spending the majority of their time on activities that help grow the business. From investor meetings to product reviews, staffing discussions, and growth planning, by freeing your time to focus on the future of the business you will be able to be better prepared for shifting market conditions.One of the keys to maximizing your time is having trustworthy people you can delegate to. By delegating more of the day to day responsibilities to key team members, you are freeing yourself to be the tip of the spear, opening up new opportunities, and keeping your focus on growth and opportunity.Make sure you choose someone that can perform to your level of expectations when you delegate. Provide them with clear direction, appropriate resourcing, authority to complete the work, and then trust them to succeed on your behalf. Avoid the boomerang effect that often happens with engaged leaders. Choose wisely so that your delegate becomes a help not a hindrance to your progress.
- Personal Development: Become a Better Leader
When is the last time you considered investing in yourself? Investing in yourself is investing in your business. To be a high performing leader you need to find people that can pour into you as much as you pour into your business. It’s time to find a certified and experienced coach or a trusted and seasoned mentor. (Or both!) Perspective is often hard when you are in the hustle and bustle of making your enterprise successful. It’s challenging to find time to reflect, plan, or strategize. And you probably have even less time to analyze ways you can personally become better and deepen your experience.Establishing a coaching and/or mentor relationship formalizes this ultra-important time that all leaders should have. As little as 30-minutes each week can be the meaningful input you need to be able to see beyond the immediate moment and define ways to keep growing and improving for the long-term.Getting advice and direction from someone with professional expertise or years of experience can be a huge turning point for you.
- Vision: Bring It into Focus
At Mosaic Family Wealth we believe that all successful business owners and leaders need to find the way to go beyond success towards significance. It’s about having purpose behind what you do and figuring out how to do more than just accumulate wealth but make an impact.The starting point is a clear vision for yourself and your business. It’s important to remember why you got into business in the first place. During economic hardships, having a clear understanding of where we intended to go helps us to do regular reality checks on our progress and adjustments when needed. Seeing the big picture can be enough to spark a renewed passion that will get you through the tough times.
Benjamin Franklin once said that by “failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” As a successful businessperson, being confident about tough times is about being prepared both organizationally and personally. Our team of seasoned advisors is ready to help.
Please note that nothing in this content should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing in this content is intended to be, and you should not consider anything in this content to be, investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice, you should consult with your own accountants or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs.
Mosaic Family Wealth, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Mosaic Family Wealth, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure.