In these times of recession, vast uncertainty and global economic downturn, we may want to take a step back and reassess or be forced to reconsider the reasons for our goals, business strategies and other key decisions. But before taking any further paths to implement previously approved plans, consider some guidelines for making sound decisions as if you were to make them afresh today.
Think about establishing clear goals that will address two areas of need. Ask the question about the quality of the decision- is it the right one for these times and market circumstances? And can you be assured of continued commitments and support from key stakeholders who have an interest in your future success? This group would include your employees, managers, lenders, vendors and clients. Are your plans devised to serve the long term and short term interests of the enterprise? Consider and devise methods in advance to resolve issues and conflicts that you may imagine can occur. What will be the impact? Be ready with your back up plan B and C if you can. Use these times of course corrections to increase your intellectual knowledge base and learning’s so that you may strengthen your chances for greater future success. If you’ve already paid a price, get the benefit of that investment and don’t pay the same price twice.
Identify and analyze all relevant issues pertaining to each of the goals you adopt. Consider what happens if all goes wrong or if all goes right. What is your fall back position or plans to downsize if required or to attract more financing for increased business? What facts can you list as known and unknown? Which assumptions need to be challenged? Do you have the right personnel, funding, and infrastructure to support your supply chain, the technology and software to accomplish the mission?
Accumulate that information you need and schedule discussions, face to face if at all possible, with your clients, vendors, employees and professional advisors such as accountants, attorneys and your advisory or board of directors. The rule of thumb in a crisis situation is to over communicate. People’s stress levels are elevated and they need more attention, not less. Tap into the business experience of those you trust in other businesses. The principal considerations are typically similar and transferrable to your business. Use these times to alter the method of your operations. As long as you communicate your intentions and have the other party agree all should be well.
Here’s very helpful guideline I learned from my friend Harvey who sold his business for millions. A customer asked him for a price discount based on a promise for increased order volume. Instead of giving the price break immediately on all products ordered, Harvey confirmed that he would tender a check in the amount of the discount after the promised volume was ordered and paid for. A year later he walked in with a check payable to his customer for more than $80,000. The customer was thrilled to get the money and Harvey as glad to get the business. But most of us don’t operate in this sophisticated manner. We start to give the discount immediately. Then when the promised quantity is not ordered through the year, the onus falls on us, the vendor, to now, tactfully and maybe somewhat uncomfortably remind the customer that the volume has not been achieved. Do you imagine the customer will be ready and willing to give back the discounted money? I don’t think so.
Beware to curb impulsive decisions. Did you get all the information you required? While actions are based on emotions, sound logic should support moves that will affect your financial success. You may find that more time is necessary so arrange for it if all possible. And once your analysis has been fully completed then act decisively. Your job as the leader is to create the perception that success will be possible and that you and your organization will perform. Stake you reputation to your success. Benjamin Disraeli was quoted as saying that “nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on the extent of its purpose.” Translated to mortals like me, in short, this means, “I will do it or die.” Those are powerful words and magical also. Goethe said that “magic has power in it.” In these times, who among us couldn’t use a little more magic to accompany our hard work?