Anything-Proof your Business: Acceleration (Part IV)

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Prerequisite: Please read Part III.

In This Guide

Introduction (Part I)
Acceptance (Part II)
Adjustment (Part III)
Acceleration (Part IV) < you are here

Acceleration

I wish I could tell you there is a magic key, and once you find it, you’ll unlock all the hidden growth, customers and revenue you’ve dreamed about. As you’ve already figured out, there’s no key, and nobody is going to come save you except yourself. I promise hard work and a little process will start yielding results, and you’ll wish you did these all sooner.

Culture

Every time I help an organization, I ask to meet with the leadership team individually. I always have one question that never receives a consistent answer from more than a couple leaders:

“What are our core values?”

That single question tells me a lot. Sometimes, folks recite a mission statement. Sometimes, they remember a core value or two, but don’t know when someone exhibited those values at the company. Almost always, there’s never a process to incorporate core values into the hiring process. Hardly ever, is culture something that’s measured, and leaders tell me it’s something you feel. This leads me to the epiphany:

Every organization has had or currently has a culture problem. Oftentimes, executive teams feel the topic is too fluffy or too large to fix.

The organizations in the world that are most admired have a culture that’s written down, with core values that are easily understood, and hiring and firing processes that are tied closely with it. You can see it in the walls of their offices, on their website, in their email signature line and with every interaction they have with customers, employees and vendors. And yes, they measure culture. The tool I’ve found most useful for measuring culture is Officevibe. There are other tools, but I’ve had repeated success with Officevibe thanks to its ease of use, ease of administration and ease of understanding the data.

Whatever tool you use, don’t make the mistake of leveraging public and free review sites such as Glassdoor to make cultural decisions. Those sites follow the psychological principles of Twitter, where most of the sentiment is negative and harsh. Think about it, if most of the comments on Glassdoor are past employees, they were likely fired or left on bad terms. Why would you take action on that typically unconstrive feedback? As the saying goes:

“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.”

Gone are the days of autocratic leadership. So another new concept that’s changing management teams across the world is leading with a high degree of emotional intelligence. I’ve found Dr. Brené Brown to be the most thorough in her frameworks, and they happen to be the easiest to understand. Her book, Dare to Lead, is refreshing and complemented by virtual and onsite training that her disciples run every single month. As she puts it:

“A leader takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.”

Customers

An organization’s ability to attract and retain customers during this extraordinary time is key to its survival. If you’re staying in the background, waiting for times to improve, your business will suffer and even shut down. There are a few areas to take into consideration: Retention, Acquisition and Expansion.

Retention is quite simply the sum of all activities that enable you to keep much of the revenue you’ve created. If you’re a SaaS company, this is oftentimes called MRR (monthly recurring revenue or ARR (annual recurring revenue). If you’re an ecommerce company, this is oftentimes referred to as GMV (gross merchandising volume). Most companies just call this recurring revenue or revenue. Your retention strategy should be focused on dollars, not units of customers. It’s a common mistake to count orders or total number of customers, but not every customer is created equal and there are different values for each cohort of customers. Previously, we discussed how to report and analyze this information. Now you’ll put it to use.

There are customer-centric programs you can put together, most of which have been written about in books such as The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, or the Simple Truths of Service by Ken Blanchard, and one of my personal favorites, The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. If I could provide you with an oversimplified key takeaway to all of these, it’s to treat each customer like they are family (the ones you like) and you’ll build customers for life.

Second to your customer service programs, it’s always about what you can do for each customer to make them feel like they are your only customer. You’d be surprised how many companies don’t have a COVID relief program, thinking it doesn’t apply to them or that there’s nothing you can do to help struggling customers. Not only will you need to think through your own aid and assistance programs, but you also need to come up with a regular communication cadence and strategy to make sure every customer is aware of what you’re offering them during this tough time. The act of simply providing a discount or ability to put a customer on-hold provides them with the confidence and loyalty to come back as a stronger customer when the time is right.

Acquisition may not mean what you think it means. Remember, we discussed net new customer acquisition as being a risky maneuver during this time. However, you should look at your marketing and sales performance data and isolate a few cohorts that have always delivered great results, and revenue, for further testing. For example, if you’ve historically relied on Google Ads to attract customers, you’re missing out big on other sources of acquisition through social media, performance marketing and grassroots outreach. You should also focus on selling new services and offerings to existing customers, which, depending on your offering and positioning, could be considered expansion.

Expansion is one of the most overlooked, and oftentimes scariest of all revenue retention and increase strategies. Organizations are fearful of increasing prices and upselling to existing customers. I’ve sat with executives who’ve said:

“We don’t want to disturb our gym memberships.”

Or something like:

“Customers will leave if we do that.”

Quick question for you:

Would you rather make $1m from one hundred customers or $2.5m from fifty customers?

The answer to that question will inform your expansion strategy. There are a few areas to look into.

First, identify customers that are not on contract or have zero commitment. By locking them into a contract or recurring service (aka subscription), you’ve effectively retained that revenue for the duration of the contract. While you’re looking at contracts and subscriptions, take a look at your pricing compared to the market. One great resource is Price Intelligently. They discuss price sensitivity, elasticity and the market forces that will drive how customers will respond to your price change. I’ve helped organizations achieve 35% more revenue with 20% fewer customers through a combination of these two efforts.

Second, take a look at your marketing and sales team structures, along with incentives and commission packages.

Do your teams get paid per unit, as a team, or with revenue targets? Is your commission structure complex and capped?

You’ll want to make sure the teams are incentivized for expansion in excess of your baseline revenue. I’ve tried many different calculations, with individual and team quotas and targets. The models that have worked the most effectively are the ones that everyone understands and that don’t dig into your targeted profit margin significantly. If you’re paying 10% of revenue to the sales team and only have 15% profit margin, the math won’t allow you to stay in business.

Third, and this is critical, your support team is the starting point to retention, they are not the only team that helps here. Customers will want to escalate issues and talk to someone about pricing in more detail. Trying to train each of your customer support representatives to help each customer with technical, operational and billing issues will lead to long training cycles and humans make mistakes. I’ve found that carving out a small team that sits between your customer support and billing teams to result in the best performance. Call it Customer Retention, Customer Happiness or Customer Guru. Whatever works for you. The name doesn’t matter as much as the goals for this team, which is to expand revenue through retention activities.

Partnerships

The manner in which you engage new and existing partners is a key to unlocking automated growth for your business. A partner can be a vendor, contractor, distributor, retailer or supplier. You should always be looking for complementary partners as well as ways to leverage existing partners for co-marketing. Once you establish this ecosystem of reciprocity, you’ll never look at marketing in the same linear light. What do I mean? Simply put, most SMB advertising funnes typically look like this: Ad > Traffic > Conversion. When you work with partners to market to the same target customers, you reduce your total acquisition cost by leveraging existing marketing funnels that both sides have established.

For example, let’s say you’re a CPG (consumer packaged goods) manufacturer and sell wholesale to local or speciality grocery stores. As a test, consider running a 1-week promotion where you offer 10% coupons for one of those grocery stores. In return, that grocery store advertises your brand more prominently in their store and online. Both sides can target existing customers, letting them know about the special promotion through email, social media or home page placement. Measure the results, rinse and repeat at scale with dozens of other partners.

When considering new partnerships, start with immediate value creation by building your comarketing plan together upfront, before the deal is inked. Let’s say you’re a restaurant that makes a unique sourdough loaf. When the pandemic started, bread shortages became real, so you decided to wholesale hundreds of loaves a day to a local store. Your comarketing plan would involve the grocery store providing prominent placement in-store, as well as messaging existing customers, letting them know they can now get your baked sourdough loaves in their store. In return, you would promote that store and even offer exclusivity for the first month, which is how long it would take for you to measure the results of this campaign. Rinse and repeat with other stores at scale.

I know I’ve been providing a lot of brick-and-mortar examples, so let’s translate this partner strategy for a technology or SaaS company. One way to engage existing partners is to reach-out to your top performing and lowest performing partners. Create a pandemic-relief package that consists of something you’re offering customers, as well as something the partner could offer customers. As an example, you could offer the first 3 months free if you’re a subscription business, to help small businesses get back on track. Your partner may do the same, offer a flat discount or enable top-tier features for their lowest plans. You would both agree on which cohorts to target, and begin a mutual co-marketing plan that would likely span across your website, email, in-product and social media. Measure the results, which typically include engagement and conversion. Revenue is misleading at this point since you’re offering relief together, in exchange for creating high-value customers later. Rinse and repeat with more partners.

Once you’ve found a way to leverage partnerships to scale your acquisition, you’ll wonder why you never did this before. I’m often surprised at how long it takes for companies to realize that sharing marketing funnels and leveraging each other’s existing customer network is one of the fastest ways to grow business.

Learning

Many organizations are embarking on education, training and certification programs for their teams to help accelerate growth when markets fully recover. These include technical certifications, virtual learning credits as well as leadership training. Your professional development budget may be dwindling because of the pandemic, it’s usually one of the first expenses to cut during tough times, but that’s counterintuitive. You want your employees to feel a sense of normal, a sense of growth and sense of accomplishment during tough times. Instead, consider making professional development programs available as an effort to promote long-term employment. Some organizations offer a certain dollar amount of training or certification, paid for by the company, to be paid back if an employee voluntarily departs the organization sooner than a period of time following the provided benefit; typically 12 months or more.

For leadership, focus on the programs that help build trust among the team and reduce the burden of what’s going on psychologically. I mentioned Dare to Lead by Dr. Brené Brown before, but now could be the best time to start even a simple reading club among your leadership team as a low cost way to start this process. Once you’re ready, you can get onboard to the training sessions and workshops. Through that journey, you’ll discover how to lead with courage, have tough conversations and be open to vulnerability. Quite simply, when people are faced with setbacks and challenges, amazing things can happen when the entire leadership team is not only lockedstep in approach, but open to being vulnerable to not having all the answers and committed to finding a resolution, together. One of my favorite quotes of hers:

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

Whatever learning programs you decide appropriate, don’t waste time overanalyzing the possible impact. You’ll want to make sure they match your budget and time available, but getting started now is an important step towards thriving later. One organization I helped started with the budget-friendly solution of running multiple book clubs, meeting once a week to share takeaways and learnings. Over time, the leadership team and employees asked for a deeper dive and wanted to become better at their jobs, opening the door to more formal training options.

Throughout this guide you may have noticed I’ve linked dozens of websites, books or other resources. As a leader, you should never stop learning. In fact, you should always be asking questions and seek to answer those questions through the learnings of others, including your own team. When you learn something, you’ll improve yourself and your team. When you share it, you’re giving back to the business community and improving our economy, one simple share at a time. This is the reason I’ve spent time putting this guide together.

Doubling-down

Make a list, yes, another list, of all the areas of the revenue streams and green shoots that are working for your organization. If your list is small, perhaps even one, that’s ok. You can define what success looks like here depending on your goals. For example, for some organizations it might be EBITDA, for others it might be revenue growth, while for others it may just be a single product that is taking off at an exponential growth rate.

Next, identify all the activities that go into that particular area, specifically human and process. You might identify a stellar team in your organization, or a performance marketing partner that’s been producing extraordinary results, or a new partner that’s doing gangbusters in terms of increasing awareness of your brand and providing you with fresh customers. Whatever the reason, you need to really dig deep and identify the actual activities. For example, digging into that stellar team from above, you find out that they are producing their own email campaigns to target existing customers, and that they have created a pricing tool to handle billing conversations with ease.

Once you’ve identified the activities for each of the areas that are working, it’s time to accelerate them. Meet with the teams involved and ask what they would need to double or triple their growth.

Do they need more people? More tools? More capital? More resources? More support? More training?

Over 99% of the time, it’s not more money, trust me. Increasing salaries and compensation will only produce very short-term results and often lead to quick departures for high-performers since you’ve now opened the confidence door for them to boost their personal brand. Go through the activity list that you created, review the steps with the team and ask them to focus on those, and problems they’ve encountered in each activity. Sometimes you’ll hear hidden problems or challenges by listening to the team that you can fix quickly.

Finally, ask the team to present their findings to leadership. Have them talk about the programs, tools and processes they created. Have them discuss the challenges, including the new ones you’re helping them to resolve. This cross-sharing will promote similar ideas in other areas of the organization and I’m often surprised by the fact so many teams feel they need permission to grow the business. One case and point, in a presentation much like the one I explained above, a parallel leader came up to me afterwards and said:

“I didn’t know we could have our own email campaigns, I thought we had to go through the marketing team. I can’t wait to create our own campaign for partners.”

Oftentimes you’ll find that doubling-down isn’t as simple as increasing marketing dollars for acquisition or increasing the frequency for promotions and offers. Those are all temporary gains, and what your organization needs right now is repeatable and consistent growth. I remember talking to a retailer who thought Groupon would be the answer to unlocking viral growth, and we all know how that story ended up, but I’ll repeat it for those that don’t. During Groupon’s early days, retailers saw increase in revenue but low profitability and almost zero repeat business. The campaigns that brought them hundreds or thousands of new customers almost cost them their entire business because they had to fulfill on the goods at a lower cost, with limited organic growth that followed shortly after. Restaurants during the pandemic are seeing this same pattern emerge from third-party delivery companies such as UberEats, Doordash and Postmates. Combine that with the higher cost to purchase restaurant supplies and a leased space that’s only 25–50% full at any time, and it’s no wonder restaurants are struggling so much.

Qualifying

I’m always surprised when I ask different leaders in the same company who the real target customer is. It usually goes something like this:

“Age blah to blah, in the United States or blah.”

Of course every business would love to say every single human being in the entire world is my target customer, but the reality is there’s no such reality. But going along with the focused approaches mentioned earlier, this arena is no different. Don’t believe me? Once the reality of your failed or lackluster sales and marketing campaigns change your perspective, re-read this section and run a small test. You won’t be disappointed.

This requires you to take a hard look at your customers today. In a previous section, we talked about identifying your highest performing cohorts and customers. Now that you have your list, you’ll note the characteristics that make these your top customers. Perhaps they generate a certain annual revenue, maybe they are geographically located in metropolitan areas, or even have a certain employee footprint. It will take some data ingenuity here to spot the patterns, for most small businesses, it won’t be easy to do this exercise at first. You’ll struggle, make up a few facts without verifying them, and may even jump to conclusions based on Google search results.

What you’re effectively doing is market research, and good marketing and consulting companies typically charge over $500k one time to do this for you. What I’ve learned in the past 20 years is that nobody knows your customers better than you do, and nobody can tell you where to find gold, but sometimes they can point you in a direction for exploration. The good news is, you only have to do this for a hundred of your best customers. If you have far less than that, you should have no excuse to conduct this market research for every single customer.

What if your existing customers aren’t your focus because you are pivoting or transforming your sales and marketing programs?

No problem, it’s the same market research journey, but it will be a little harder because you have to identify each customer you want to have, then identify the characteristics of that customer, then finally rinse and repeat until you have a list of one hundred targets with the details necessary to move to the next step. This process feeds your account-based sales and direct sales programs.

And by the way, you can identify partners the same way and in fact I highly recommend you do that. It’s a great feeling starting a new quarter with a target list of customers and partners to have your sales and marketing teams focus on. Ask your team if they feel comfortable hitting sales targets given this list, and make sure you hear all feedback. If the sales team doesn’t have confidence in the list, and weren’t part of creating it, you won’t have the buy-in needed to hit the goal.

Once you have your list, you need to be focused and relentless on staying committed to that list. This means saying no to possible opportunities that don’t match your targets. It’s not forever, it’s just for a quarter, and you can easily tell a potential customer or partner that your next quarter’s pipeline has already been established and you’ll follow up towards the end of the quarter. If it’s a larger partner who’s willing to throw money your way to focus on them, you’ll have to make that tough decision but usually, it’s a distraction because you just had your team create a focused list with buy-in.

While it may seem like a drastic measure, you’ll want to consider reducing or shutting down inbound marketing campaigns that don’t yield your targeted customer. Sure you’ll hear a lot from the marketing team about how those campaigns turn into revenue, and possibly could include some of the target customers, but this is a time of critical focus, not a time for wasteful spend.

I worked with a SaaS company that was spending over $500k a week to acquire customers of all shapes and sizes, many of which would churn within ninety days. Once we took a look at the lifetime value metrics, we found out that spend only yielded a half-dozen customers per week that had a lifetime value greater than $5k. This was an unprofitable campaign and we were able to save all that money for a more focused account-based effort a couple quarters later.

Testing

Treat everything like a test. I’m sure you’ve heard of A/B testing, but rarely do I find organizations that truly run these sorts of tests at scale. What should be A/B tested, all the time? Your homepage, emails, landing pages, ads, social media posts, features in your product, and anything else where you have the ability to split part of your funnel to one experience and part of your funnel to another experience. This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or time-consuming project, you can start by simply creating a copy of your website homepage, making some tweaks, and splitting traffic 50/50 to each experience. You might change the color of your primary call-to-action, add a phone number, remove a phone-number and just use a form. Sometimes just changing the title of the page can get you great results.

There are plenty of great tools out there that make it easy for marketing teams to run these tests. Among some of my favorites are: Optimizely, Google Optimize, and Instapage. If you’re going to conduct these experiments in email, consider Mailchimp, Hubspot, or Klaviyo. In-product A/B testing can be done using LaunchDarkly or FeatureFlags. Existing platforms, tools and providers you already use may already have A/B testing capabilities, so start by reading their help docs or contacting them to avoid reinventing the wheel or migrating.

More advanced small businesses have adopted the strategy of medium-sized enterprises and are using segmentation to drive these tests. For example, they may funnel all males to one experience, and females to another. At eHarmony, we did this at scale with every form of digital communication using a system I helped build from the ground up. The results it yielded were impressive, generating 5–10% more lift in subscriptions and engagement than other initiatives that were attempted prior. In fact, those same leaders are now at OpenTable, doing the same thing for design, product and marketing communications. You can thank Joseph Essas, their CTO for bringing this testing culture to light.

If you’re curious about the science and mechanics that go into A/B testing, or want to learn more, I recommend reading Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments by Ron Kohavi or A/B Testing: The Most Powerful Way to Turn Clicks Into Customers by Dan Siroker.

Capital

When you hear entrepreneurs tell you about the roller-coaster of their business, the track to capital usually becomes the culprit. You’ll hear things like:

“If I just had raised $Xm.”

Or:

“My investors didn’t support me.”

There are many different kinds of capital, including hidden capital that already exists within your organization. So let’s cover all the major sources here.

We’ve already discussed reducing your operating expenses through staff, contract and contractual reductions. We also discussed how marketing is another major area that’s easily tuned down, especially when times are tight. But here are some less obvious areas to find hidden capital:

  • Account Receivables: By finding a way to expedite payments, or accept payments for future services (aka prepaid contracts) you can secure additional capital now and deliver on the product or service over time.
  • Supplier Credits: If you have net 30, 60 or 90 payment terms with your suppliers but are paying invoices in a few days of receipt, consider increasing your accounts payable cycle for these suppliers closer to the terms of the contract. Likewise, if you don’t have net 30 or higher with your suppliers, ask them to convert from “due on receipt” to net 30 or longer. You may also have suppliers willing to provide a discount for prepayment or faster payment if you know you’ll need that good or service.
  • Lease: Do you really need your office space right now? Can you work out of a portion of the space and downsize? The key to remember here is that you’re doing a favor for your landlord, not the other way around. If everyone is working remote and you’re paying thousands of dollars a month for office space with a 3–6 month penalty by breaking your lease, your landlord should be open to working with you on reduced terms to avoid breaking your lease.
  • Working Capital: If you’re used to purchasing a certain amount of inventory, consider reducing your total inventory to reduce working capital needs of the organization.
  • Asset Liquidation: Are there unused assets (equipment, inventory, supplies) that you can sell now? While this may reduce your balance sheet strength, exchanging those items for cash in the bank may be one of the smartest things you’ll do before times get tough.

There are more deferred, interest-free and forgiven forms of capital available each month. If you didn’t participate in PPP, there are other sources of funding from SBA. This becomes a legal exercise as much as a financial exercise, so you’ll want your counsel and financial teams to work in sync to understand the options and how to apply.

If you’re set on raising more capital, your existing investors are the first sources to contact. Second to that, you can consider equity or debt capital, but should understand the pros and cons of each clearly. First, equity capital is typically available for companies that are just getting off the ground. If you’ve been in business for a long time, most venture capital firms will look the other way. This is quite simply because their model requires taking the highest risk at the early stages of your business for the biggest returns later. If you have venture or private equity contacts that are prepared to start going down this path, you should be willing and able to exchange a large percentage of your equity for the runway you need to turn things around. And you’ll need to make sure your turnaround story is clear, believable and never, under any circumstances, should you make stuff up.

Then there’s debt capital, typically provided by banks or smaller outfits. Bankers have an established risk tolerance and expected rate of return (typically 15–20%). They demand to get paid back and will usually put covenants and other restrictions on the company, and can call their loan anytime during the loan or when there’s a situation that causes concern (missing a payment, missing performance objectives, etc.). I’ve seen founders lose their entire business because that’s effectively the collateral being put up to protect the raised debt. I’ve also seen collateral in the form of personal guarantees turn into a nightmare for the founder. If you’re a growing business, debt capital is likely not the right avenue. If you need help and have a great turnaround strategy, this is a good time to consider debt. You’ll likely be paying monthly or quarterly interest installments, so make sure you forecast these into your cash projections.

Ultimately, a hybrid of any of the above options might be the way to go for you, but make sure you understand what’s being traded in exchange for the capital. Also make sure you have every intention to pay the money back, if borrowed, at some point in the future and incorporate that into your overall financial projections. Make sure you have multiple versions of those projections, I often refer to them as high, medium, low to understand the impact to your bottom-line if you exceed, meet or fall short of your plans respectively.

Frameworks

There are many great business operations frameworks: Six Sigma, OKRs, EOS, etc. I’ve learned that not all of them yield the desired results for every business, and leadership often feel like they need consultants and coaches to even start. Fundamentally, many of them share the same core principles: To produce better results through focus and less waste. However, in recent years, I’ve seen EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) start gaining traction with businesses, and have personally seen it work wonders for low-performing organizations. While I recommend you conduct your own studies, research and bring the leadership team’s experiences into this decision, I’ll focus on EOS since most organizations are choosing it over others.

EOS is a lean strategy to align every decision, process and goal in your entire organization through a series of protocols, tools and planning. It was created by Gino Wickman, who had taken over and transformed a family business then started diving into repeating that same success for other businesses. His book Traction is a no-nonsense, simple and relatively short guide for you to implement EOS in your own organization. In fact, there are many others who have written stories and books on their newfound success using EOS, and there are now certified coaches and implementers. There are even specific books for the various constituents (leaders, visionary, integrator, managers, etc.) to build upon your EOS skill set.

As with every framework, it’s never a silver bullet. You get out what you put in, and you effectively need to commit all the way. I remember being part of an organization that started using OKRs, only to switch back to their normal defunct processes within two quarters. EOS is different in that you can begin implementing parts, in the right order, over one or two quarters, and begin the journey as an organization to implement all of its facets over time. Experts say it takes about two years for an organization to fully implement EOS, but almost all of them see the benefits after three or four quarters. Having seen it firsthand, I tend to agree with both assessments.

You’ll know an organization is running EOS when someone tells you they have to join an L10. The L10, or level ten meeting, is a hallmark of the framework where leaders meet at a weekly frequency to discuss the scorecard (metrics), rocks (goals), headlines (employee and customer news) and IDS (issue and resolution). EOS is more than just a meeting planner, you create a vision, track goals and issues getting those goals done as well as an accountability matrix that holds one person accountable for a specific area of the company. One of my favorite components is the Right People, Right Seats™. With a tool called People Analyzer™, you can separate the wheat from the chaff, as they say, and ensure you have the right people in the right areas of your organization. I’m surprised by how many people self-select within a few quarters, and even more surprised at how effective this entire framework is in getting you the results you’ve always wanted for your organization. Once you’ve grounded yourself in the people tools available as part of EOS, the accelerant is Culture Index. It’s a combination tool and consulting program that will transform the way you hire and retain talent. If you reach out to Culture Index, ask for Stanton Williams, he’s incredibly responsive.

Staying Positive

As a senior leader, employees and other leaders look up to you and your direction to guide them through tough times. They expect you to celebrate the small wins, even though you may be wired to move past those quickly to get to the larger goal. Your team can feel your positive energy, and they catch on to your negativity. I remember someone asking me if I was tired after a particularly stressful quarterly planning session. I knew I was running on fumes, and the only response I could muster up was that I looked forward to seeing the results of the upcoming quarter. We don’t always have to be the toughest person in the room, sometimes being human is the reason why your team is still working their tails off for you and the company.

Remind yourself how you got to where you are, why you’re still there, and do what it takes to find the energy to push hard through another quarter. For some, it’s exercise, better diet, and meditation. For others, it’s finding a second wind through the small wins. Having been through emotional and physical burnouts throughout my career, I can’t emphasize how important it is for you to take care of you. As a spiritual healer once told me:

“The life you want is just one energy shift away.”

Take care of yourself the right way, and other things will take care of themselves. Remind your leadership of this as well, and that it’s ok to take time to renew their mindset.

If you can’t seem to get away from it all and just need a break, I encourage you to take just a half day in the morning during a work week just once a month. Sit somewhere new, perhaps outside, sitting with nature. Don’t think about anything. Tune work out. Tune life’s problems out. Turn your phone and laptop off. Just sit, and be alone. Be grateful for all that you have and all those who love you. Once you feel at peace, and only when your mind is completely clear, then tell yourself this sentence:

“I’m open to change. I’m open to learning. I’m open to being better.”

That’s what life is all about. The journey isn’t easy, but your attitude can make things easier.

Takeaways

Your journey to revitalize your business may be starting, but you’re not alone. In this guide you’ve been presented with concepts that will help you along this journey. Once you’ve accepted the reality, adjusted your perspective and the business, you can truly begin acceleration to become anything-proof for the future. In order to do that, you need to:

  1. Have a clear, concise and compelling vision.
  2. Create or update your organizational culture to live by its core values.
  3. Implement cost control, cost-saving and cash management protocols.
  4. Create a more resilient supply chain through creative diversification.
  5. Retain your customers by providing outstanding customer service.
  6. Focus on your core offerings and target new customers with laser-focus.
  7. Work with partners to build a mutual ecosystem of referrals.
  8. Adopt frameworks like EOS to avoid relying on guessing and gut instinct.
  9. Find hidden and external sources of capital to increase the runway.
  10. Stay positive, every step of the way.

If there are topics you’d like a deeper dive into, have feedback on, or want just a little more clarity, please don’t hesitate to comment.

CEO | Founder | Entrepreneur | Father. Formerly @volusion, @intuit, @eharmony, @iac. Perpetually seeking enlightenment. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bardiadejban

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