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by The Oracles
June 18, 2020
by The Oracles
June 18, 2020
If you're worried about whether your business will survive the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, you're not alone. Millions of businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. Here's what these business moguls and Advisors in The Oracles say you should do to weather the storm.
If your company needs to cut back, then you take the first cut. The actions you take now will be remembered for years after this crisis is over — especially how you treat your employees, customers, and suppliers. What you do now will be well-received later, so work twice as hard. That also sends a message to your team that your business will still be standing tall come hell or high water.
— Tim Draper, legendary VC, founder of Draper Associates and DFJ, and author of "How to Be the Startup Hero"
First, connect with your employees and customers. We're listening and sharing on social media daily to inspire, inform, and empathize. If you've resisted selling directly to consumers, you might reconsider an omnichannel strategy. We've always focused on ensuring access to water everywhere, whether it's online, in stores, or at the workplace. Now, our direct-to-consumer and retail businesses are making up for losses as corporate customers close their offices.
Finally, reorganize if you have to. For example, our marketing teams are now helping stock store shelves with Hint. Every evening, I visit a local store and fill the shelves myself if needed. We are all pitching in — and will get through this together.
— Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint Inc., creator of The Kara Network, a digital resource for entrepreneurs, and host of the "Unstoppable" podcast.
"When will everything go back to normal?" Asking that question is a mistake. Instead, embrace this new normal — because remote work, online first, and deliveries are here to stay. Create internal and client-facing Skype groups for each project and team. Minimize Zoom calls and opt for written communication, encouraging your team to think deeply, summarize their ideas, and ask for feedback. Ask everyone to submit a short daily report.
You have a captive audience sitting at home. Every day, deploy valuable content to build a following, which you can monetize later. Your website should be a simple tool where customers learn, get value, and buy from you. Ask for insights from internet marketing experts who have mastered selling online to your target audience. There's still money to be made; customer needs and wants have just shifted.
— Mike Peters, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of the Yomali group of companies, which has generated more than $1 billion in sales online.
Your ability to understand and share your customers' feelings is essential to the survival of your business. The problem you solved yesterday might be irrelevant today. Be willing to pivot on anything and everything. Identify the new challenges your customers are facing and focus on solving them. Connect to their new reality in every marketing message, or they may tune you out. When you show up as an empathetic guide helping to solve problems, your business will do more than survive — it will thrive on the other side.
— Jeanine Blackwell, creator of the Expert Experience Method; trained over 40,000 experts (including Fortune 500 companies) to package their expertise into products.
Check your rental lease or other contracts for a "force majeure" clause. If you have this clause, you may be able to get out of the lease or contract without penalty, thanks to the unforeseeable circumstances we're facing. If you can't fulfill your contract, let the other party know immediately and consider whether you can renegotiate the terms.
Then check your insurance policy for business interruption insurance to see if you can make a claim. Take this action immediately to ensure that you have a business to come back to when things go back to normal.
— James Daily, founding partner of Daily Law Group, which helps high-profile clients with fiduciary abuse litigation, including fraud, crisis management, and business and family disputes.
First, assess your cash flow projections — and be honest with yourself. If revenue is about to take a hit, adjust your estimates, and evaluate if and where you can reduce expenses. Remember that while the stimulus bill promises a lot, many details are still being determined. To understand your options, connect with your accounting team often. (We're reassessing daily.)
Finally, be transparent with your team. Include them in your discussions about everything from revenue and payroll to potential business opportunities. Your people can be a tremendous source of ideas and support.
— Dennis Najjar, cofounder of AccountingDepartment.com, a virtual accounting service for small businesses.
Take this opportunity to pause and reassess your priorities. Adopt a bootstrapping mentality and consider your burn rate. Rank your resources and partnerships by importance. Your top priority should be keeping your team employed. Ask them to do a 360 review to identify where you can trim expenses and increase efficiencies to extend your financial resources.
Now that everyone is working from home, you're more vulnerable to hacking. Ensure your team follows information security procedures, which should include secure password requirements and using VPNs. Well-known information security companies are obvious targets, so don't be afraid to work with startups with less brand recognition.
— Tom Albert, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence expert, and founder and CEO of MeasuredRisk, a leading enterprise risk management company.
I run my business conservatively. We instantly cut back 20% of our lowest-ROI expenses when we saw the risk of a recession. We also stopped or drastically reduced work on several longer-term projects to focus on short-term cash flow.
Based on what we're seeing in Europe, assume this economic shutdown may be longer than two months. Cut back as necessary to sustain your business without overly relying on government stimulus. Better to prepare for the worst than face it unprepared.
— Alon Rajic, CEO of Finofin, which operates Money Transfer Comparison, a leading authority on the comparison of money transfer providers.
Approach this like any business challenge: Instead of panicking, control what you can. Our 500 employees went from a call center to working from home, so we had to make an unplanned investment in technology. You figure it out as you go. Prioritize your spending, conserve where you can, and keep as much cash as possible.
Remember to look for new business opportunities. How can you pivot to support the industries that are being positively impacted? Advertising is less expensive than ever. Prepare to recoup your losses quickly after this ends.
— Craig Handley, cofounder of ListenTrust and author of "Hired to Quit, Inspired to Stay."
We've taken three steps. The first was stabilizing our business with a fully remote operation using Slack and Zoom. Next was pivoting our offers by identifying and solving the problems our clients are facing now. We worked around the clock to create training and done-for-you assets to help them become profitable again. The third was sustaining and growing by doubling down on marketing. Traffic hasn't been this cheap for 10 years, so continue to make offers and sell. The worst thing you can do is assume that no one is buying.
— Jeff Sherman, founder and CEO of Tech Sweat, and serial entrepreneur who has launched five businesses and impacted over 5,000 fitness businesses in six countries
We're mobilizing all our resources to help fight COVID-19. We're launching CovidMD.com this month, which will be the nation's first telemedicine platform to help the healthcare system respond to the pandemic. You'll be able to complete a risk assessment, receive personalized information based on CDC guidelines, and connect with a healthcare provider via live video.
We're also extending the availability of our healthy lifestyle program. People have limited access to services they need to get or stay healthy, so we're making our online diabetes prevention program available to everyone at a reduced cost. As John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
— Laurence Girard, founder and CEO of Fruit Street
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