Crisis Time is Focus Time

In my last post, I discussed chaotic times that are upon us. If you have not read it, I encourage you do so before reading this post. We are now not just in chaotic times. It has turned into a full blown crisis. I have no answers to the medical epidemic. Rest assured the world has scientists and medical professionals who will solve this problem. If you and I are going to get through this better than when we entered the crisis, there are certain things we can do to help ourselves and, as leaders, to help those around us. Let me try to give some suggestions….

Will Rogers is credited with the quote…”If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should start doing is stop digging!”. So true, we find ourselves in a crisis. Don’t panic. Focus! By focus, I do not suggest we forget or ignore what is happening around us. We need to remain aware but we need to focus not on the hole but on how we are going to get out of the hole and succeed.

As a human being, focus on the good not the bad. Focus on not just your needs but those around you. A friend in need is truly a friend indeed! We can strengthen our relationships by focusing, staying in contact and helping people who need our time, talents and treasure. Focus on being positive. See the good. Sometimes those around you just need someone who can point out all is not lost and there are better days ahead. Focus on being part of the solution not part of the crowd who just finds faults and complains. Get the clutter out of your life. Cut back on some of the things that distract you rather than fulfill you. For me, I found cutting out most of my time on Facebook helped tremendously. ?

As a business leader, during this crisis these are the times that separate the great leaders from the less proficient. There is a famous quote from the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway…. “When the tide goes out we find out who is wearing a bathing suit!”. When a crisis hits, we find out who has prepared for it. We find out who can adapt with it. We find out who can focus!

Those of you who know me personally, know I have been pounding the table to use debt sparingly. Now is the time to focus on liquidity. Your accounts receivables have to be worked with laser focus. Let’s face it, there are going to be lots of people out of work and there will be lots of businesses going bankrupt. You do not complete a sale until the money is collected. You may want to start getting paid upfront, maybe progress payments, or C.O.D. but do not let receivables age. Receivables do not make payroll, cash does. Focus on getting paid but never forget to give those who do pay you on time the best customer service. These customers will survive and you want them to remember how well you took care of them during the bad times. Taking care of them does not mean letting them borrow money from you or pay late.

Focusing on communicating with your people, your vendors, your customers and your banker is paramount. I have known and actually worked for some folks who shut themselves in their office when faced with difficult times. If anything, over communicate with these important people involved with your business. Shoot them straight, never lie or hide something from them. The truth will eventually come out. Usually it is the cover up that gets people in trouble not the truth! Glazing over problems or treating them lightly is not being genuine. I have spoken about this many times in the past. Buckle up and communicate often and with integrity.

As a community leader, look for ways to make your community serve the people who put you in office. Focus not on the past but the future. The Federal Government is going to try to paper over this crisis by printing money. Be the first in line for the infrastructure funds. They are coming but, just like the small business loans that ran out in 2 weeks, these Trillions of dollars will be gone quickly. Have your wish lists and bids ready and then communicate with Federal officials early and often. These funds will not be around again for a long time. Think about the funds FDR put out during the Great Depression. We are looking at a once in a 100 year phenomenon. Don’t let your community down by not focusing on being prepared to get and use those funds.

Opportunities sometimes are hard to see during difficult times but let me say there will be lots of opportunities in the weeks and months ahead. Those who did not prepare and used too much debt will be doing anything to raise cash. Bargains will be all around us. Keep your ear to the ground for opportunities you never thought could come like this. As retailers, airlines, cruise companies, real estate developers, etc. struggle to restart cash flow, there will be tremendous buying opportunities. Be careful but be active!

Monopoly money – Governments all over the world are printing paper money like never before. Did you ever play Monopoly as a kid? Let’s say everyone starts out even with $500 to buy properties, get out of jail, etc. Every square on the playing board has a value. Based upon the $500 you were given to start the game, you are willing to spend $X amount for a property. Let’s change how much money everyone gets from the banker. Let’s say instead of the $500, you get $5000. Would you be willing to spend more for the same properties? Simply by adding a zero to how much money you have, things get more expensive. In our everyday world this is called inflation. When governments just print money to basically hand out to everyone, inflation happens. We are embarking on the Monopoly Money phase of our paper currencies. Be aware of this….. we will go through depressed prices but then there will be a wicked turn and inflation will take off like a rocket headed to the moon. Focus on being prepared for this. It is a wonderful opportunity. ?

Until next time, Peace ?✌️