In the executive peer network that I facilitate, our members have run the full spectrum of 80% drop in sales in the 2nd quarter to some that only had 12% drop in sales. Some were deemed essential while others were not. All had to determine if they were eligible for PPP, how to apply, how to maximize forgiveness while doing what was best for their employees and businesses.
From March 10th, we implemented three 1-hour touch bases per week due to the flood of information about the virus itself and transmissibility, how to create safe work conditions, economic impact projections, government assistance, response plan if someone tests positive, psychological impact of uncertainty, among other things. In April, we cut back to twice per week, in May we cut back to once per week.
In June, we held our first socially distanced in-person meeting since February. On our regular check in of personal and professional status, we had mostly 8’s and 9’s, with only two 7’s professionally. In our issue processing segment, members asked for and received advice from each other on: How to maximize digital marketing spend right now, how to buy a business from a friend in a way that is fair to everyone while maintaining the friendship, how to find and secure top talent, how to expand geographically to enter a new market while others are still reeling, and deal points for a possible transaction, among other timely topics.
In the afternoon, we had a hopeful, strategic, and actionable presentation from David Braun of Capstone (www.capstonestrategic.com) who discussed Five Strategies for Growth, which are:
- Organic Growth – Doing more of what you are already doing or doing it differently: Marketing, Selling, Product Development
- External Growth – Acquisition, joint ventures, partnerships
- Exiting the Market – Selling off part or all your business to create cash for better opportunities
- Minimizing Costs – Systematically restructuring your operating model to be more efficient
- Do Nothing – Hold the course, wait-and-see (for most, the riskiest strategy of all right now)
It was a refreshing experience that allowed folks to move beyond the day-to-day and think about growing themselves and their businesses in the future. Mostly, it gave our members options so they don’t think or act like they are stuck.
I am proud of how our members came together to support one another, listen, share best practices, share templates and communication assets, decision trees, response plans, and survival guides. As tough as it was and still is for some, no one was alone, no one felt alone. Are we back to normal? No, but wherever we are, we are there together, which allows us to reduce uncertainty and stress, keep a clear head, and know that we have each other’s backs.
If this sounds better than what you have been through in the last three months, shoot me a note and let’s have a conversation to see if this might be a good fit for you.