We are facing an unpredictable year. Focus on growing your business and don't worry about what's out of your hands.
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Q: How can I make plans and prepare my business for the future when the future is so unclear? – Sara, Chicago
First of all, you know this: You were made to do exactly this. The entire business journey is based on chance, adaptation and risk, and you have always worked with hurdles against all odds. Forget the craziness of the pandemic and one year we will all be eager to leave behind. All you've ever needed is the opportunity, then and now. It's time to do it.
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Part of being successful in a crisis is getting through stressful scenarios and having enough capital or inventory to counterattacks and gain leverage. Don't think about surviving until 2021. Instead, remember to steer the controllable. It starts with asking yourself four questions:
1. Where am I most inefficient with my spending?
2. What's my greatest chance to save money without severely limiting my business?
3. What favors can I reasonably ask for?
4. How does the world's uncertainty create an opportunity for my company to be part of a solution that makes life better for others?
Then take risks! Is your rent killing you? Work with your landlord to find out what kind of arrangement you can possibly come to. If you are in retail business, consider ways to save energy. I know a gym where switching to more efficient lights saved almost 40 percent of energy costs. Ask the providers to move the terms of payment from net -30 to net-90. The worst that can happen is that you will be told "no". It's just not a good reason to avoid these conversations.
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From there, instead of waiting for it to happen to you, you can determine your own future.
This is what I learned from nearly 15 years of experience in our online fitness coaching business, Born Fitness. We have helped tens of thousands of people transform their bodies through the behavior change lens. That is, we identify obstacles that stand in the customer's way and help them realize that they are often spending most of their time fighting the wrong battle.
The growth of a successful business depends on a similar process. I recommend making a list of all the things that cause stress and then determining whether or not each stressor is under your control. For example, you cannot control economic shutdowns. However, you can control how you are ready to reach customers in case your primary method, such as B. a retail store is shut down.
Related: A Business Owner's Guide to Thriving in Reopening the World
You will find that most of your stressors are out of your control. If you continue to invest time and effort in variables determined by external factors, that investment will have limited impact – and you will be at the mercy of the unknown.
Instead, double the shorter list of stressors in your control. The future may feel bleak, but the present is full of problems for you to solve. This should sound familiar because that's where you started. If you can narrow your focus, you'll be amazed at how much control you have – and that mindset will always pay off no matter what comes next.