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Three Phases for Today’s Small Business

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Co-Authors - Steve & Terri Wilcox - April 2020

Companies are getting back to basics in order to survive, sustain and thrive. We all know where we are most at risk. Try thinking of these challenging times as phases. It’s time to be proactive. How will you sort it out, ride it out and level the fishhook as much as you can?

PHASE I – SURVIVE: The ‘Sort Out’

During this first phase, small businesses are making quick decisions in order to survive. What makes it rather unique is these critical decisions must be made at a time when a lack of clarity, detail and guidance exists along with plenty of misinformation. Many have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information, new laws and updated guidelines … sifting through emails delivered in fragmented pieces. We so appreciate those individuals on our teams who dove in to research options in order to help us make decisions quickly.

The sort out phase is already dwindling as we believe the information spike came when the government programs were defined and the Essential/Non-Essential definitions were established. Today, most businesses are in the advanced stages of sort out and have some kind of COVID contingency plan in place.

PHASE II – SUSTAIN: The ‘Ride It Out’

We are moving into the “Ride It Out” phase. This phase will extend for a while. There will be a bit more time for well-informed, “planned” decisions to help us sustain our businesses. These decisions are individualized to each organization based on current state which in turn impacts how long this phase will take as some organizations are in trouble, some are doing OK running at +/- breakeven and a few are actually growing.

PHASE III – THRIVE: The ‘Fishhook’

Be prepared for the eventual COVID-19 peak and a decline of new cases. The “Fishhook” phase will require decisions and actions made for getting those who are healthy and resistant back to work as soon as it is safe. Your people will return to work in full force depending on individual company norms, the balancing of the supply chain and stockpiled inventories, the ramp up of sales/new orders AND the buying appetite of the American people. Confidence will return slowly. Cash reserves will determine how deep the fishhook takes your business before returning to an upward growth line. Envision how your company will thrive. What will your new normal look like?

Be ‘Recession Ready’

How will you move your company further, faster in times of scarce resources? A change in perspective will be needed somewhere between the Ride It Out and the Fishhook phases. We must investigate and establish “Recession Ready” strategies. In our experience riding out four previous recessions, it takes time and planning to dig out from the turmoil. While we’re in the Ride It Out phase, we need to be moving from a COVID contingency plan to recession contingency plans. To help you prepare, we put together a Recession Prep Checklist. Once you’ve had a chance to download and review, we invite you to visit our Team Page and connect with a Resultants Business Advisor.

Authors, Steve and Terri Wilcox, are co-founders and Business Advisors with The Resultants. To learn more about Steve and Terri, visit our Team Page or connect with them on LinkedIn (Steve, Terri).

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