I was talking a few days ago with a client of mine whom I have advised for years. His sector was completely stopped at the beginning of the confinement and called me the same day to ask me for my opinion on what needed to be done. I was stressed, like everyone else those days. The flow of (bad) news was constant, and he was just jumping from priority to priority, without concretizing or finishing anything of what he was doing. So I stopped him and summoned him for the following Monday morning by video-conference. His financial position was comfortable, and, thanks to the savings generated over the years and the low indebtedness he had, he enjoyed enough room to spend six months unemployed.
We are not used to uncertainty. In fact, even though the natural state of the world is uncertainty, we still think that everything can be planned and everything can be predicted. It is not true.
Uncertainty is normal and, as such, must be addressed in companies. That’s why I always tell employers that I’m talking to them that right now (and in the future) we need to work on the same things:
First, in the money. In turbulent times like the ones we live in, money is the fuel that keeps us running. That’s why it’s important not only to know how much money I should have to survive, but also how I can manage the ones I have to grow. We need to manage the business treasury as we would with the family: with savings as the norm and debt as an exception (and always to grow).
Secondly, without letting ourselves be carried away by fear, but not fleeing from it either. These weeks, we have seen how fear has driven the behavior of leaders in all walks of life. This has paralyzed many companies and left them in a hurry to make decisions in a hurry, hoping that everything will return to normal. He will not return. The question we have to ask ourselves, then, is not what will happen but what we will do to make it happen. Leading a company is overcoming paralysis, protecting people and prioritizing properly.
Finally, growth must be part of something bigger: strategy. I find entrepreneurs jumping in front of every novelty, and that leads them to frustration and stress. Speed is useless without direction, so it’s a mistake to accelerate toward something that seems in the right direction without making sure it’s part of the drawing of your future. This design needs to be defined as being more innovative and flexible, so that you can face the current crisis and the new challenges of the future with more guarantees of success.
As all those who have started a business in the midst of a crisis know, it is in turbulent times that the lack of strategy, leadership and money becomes apparent; but it is in these times that the foundations of the future must be laid, and not waiting for everything to happen.
So ask yourself: where do you want to be in six months?