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 Today, we are focusing on how to keep calm and press on in times of uncertainty. In times of high stress, how do we maintain a level head and approach decision making in a clear, logical manner? The past several weeks have been a major upheaval for many of us, so we thought we’d put together some tactics you can use to keep yourself in a better state of mind.

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • 00:26 – Intro
  • 01:43 – No good decisions are made in a panic
  • 03:50 – Be a leader
  • 05:14 – Who’s part of your team?
  • 09:33 – Contingency planning
  • 11:51 – Keep progressing
  • 17:51 – Resources & tapping into your strength and resilience

No good decisions are made in a panic

It’s important to understand that no good decisions are made in a panic situation. This pandemic situation is not something that most people would have even considered in a contingency plan. As a result of that, we’re seeing many people that are having a knee jerk reaction to this stressful situation. It’s always good to sit down in a calm manner and keep your emotions in check as much as possible. Look at expectations as well as different options and really think through any decision that you’re making. 

Be a leader

Keep in mind that your team and customers are going to be looking to the leadership of the company for how they should react. As a leader, you need to take things in and take decisive action. However, staying calm and composed to make those decisions is critical as well. Setting that tone will really help your team adopt that calm and calculated approach and it will trickle through everything that you do as well. We always want to be cognizant of having that tone for our team and for ourselves. Taking the time to calm down, have a discussion, and work through things will serve you well in order to actually improve the situation or at least make those decisive decisions. We need to be striving to take action with a calm mind. 

Who’s part of your team?

Who can help you make these decisions?  We recommend not only your immediate team, your management team but also other professionals as well. Consider talking to your CPA, your business advisor, coach, the bankers you work closely with and your financial advisors for different perspectives on what’s happening. Taking an approach to planning in an orderly and systematic way will help make sure that you’re covering items that you may not normally consider.  

It’s important to revisit your strategic plan that you established at the beginning of the year. Everything you had planned for the year is now affected and likely needs revision. We need to sit down, revisit that strategic plan and make a new plan in the same way we created the first one. If we didn’t make one, we obviously need one now. Go through this plan in a systematic way and revisit those same topics in this new environment. We want to create new budget targets based on what we can reasonably predict.  

This pandemic has pushed us all back into a planning phase. Once we have created a new plan, we’re going to need to look at this in a couple of weeks and a month and then likely every month to adjust until things settle and normalize a bit. Many organizations can’t do what they normally do, so they’re finding other, very creative ways to serve their clients and customers. There are other ways to continue operating remotely, over a screen share, or Facebook live, etc.  

 

Contingency planning

Your core team of professionals like your CPA, business advisors, bankers should be able to help you with your contingency plans. It’s nice to have other brains and other perspectives to provide their thoughts and considerations for alternate solutions. By including others in your planning session, it will allow you to be creative as you’re meeting with people and create a better brainstorming session. 

It’s also good to have a contingency plan with trigger points. Establish some contingencies for what you’re going to do over the next month, over the next three months, and maybe at certain triggers. This will allow you to plan ahead and consider solutions like having to cut pay, let’s say 10%, in two months if we don’t hit these targets. Once these targets and the contingency plan are created, you now know the actions you need to take as a business moving forward. It’s likely going to change and it’s not going to be set in stone, however, having a plan is going to help ease your mind, ease your team’s mind and give you a structure. It’s not always going to have a positive outcome but going through the process and surviving the storm is the ultimate goal. 

 

Keep progressing 

Some people have a hard time getting past the feeling of being frozen and are unable to make any decisions. Start by taking a step back and looking at what’s going on currently and where you think your business might be going. Next, consider finding someone to speak with about your business and options. Involving somebody in that conversation is going to be helpful in approaching it in a systematic way. We’re all emotional about our businesses no matter who we are, but we want to try to be as logical as possible. By gaining some perspective and taking action, you will gain back the control you’re able to have over the situation. Having a plan in place and taking steps in a direction you’ve set with intention is going to help you feel better about the circumstance and ease your anxiety. 

We need to remember that although we are struggling with unprecedented times, we have prevailed in other difficult times. Look back at 9/11 and the fall of 2008 in more recent histories and then go back even further. Yes, we are dealing with a pandemic, businesses closing, schools being closed down but if you look back, you’ll see proof that we can bounce back from this. We’re in a society that is strong and can overcome a crisis as a nation. 

 

Resources & tapping into your strength and resilience

There are a significant amount of resources available to help. We have business resources, SBA loans, the stimulus coming out, and more personally,  neighbors helping other neighbors. Don’t feel like you are completely alone. Reach out to the resources that are in your community. Reach out to the friends and family that you have. Don’t feel like you have to weather this storm by yourself. Staying connected to people and working through this together will help ease your anxiety during this time. 

Yes, there is a significant amount of stress and anxiety that we’re all dealing with, however, let’s take the positive that we might be experiencing as well. Many have the opportunity to spend more time with their children, nurture a hobby, work on their house, etc. It can be challenging at times, but consider the blessings in this situation as well. 

It’s important to realize that you are resilient. As a business owner, you had the grit to start your business and make those tough decisions that got you to where you are today. You have so many positive attributes that can get you through tough situations. We will get through this, because we are all in this together. Realize that you have the strength inside yourself to get over these obstacles that we’re facing right now. Yes, it’s difficult but you will persevere. Remember, you are not alone. You have family, friends, colleagues and people that truly care about you. Take a deep breath if you feel overwhelmed, stay calm  and reach out to talk with those people close to you. 

If someone you know is struggling and could benefit from listening to this, feel free to share this episode.

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