“The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency” – Jim Tressel
I am a believer in motivation. Everyone wants to be encouraged. Everyone enjoys being inspired. But here’s the truth when it comes to growth, it does not matter how talented you are or the number of opportunities you have received. Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.
We have to value the process to achieve our goals. Charlene Armitage, a successful life coach said the following: “Life goals are reached by setting annual goals. Annual goals are reached by reaching daily goals. Daily goals are reached by doing things which may be uncomfortable at first but eventually become habits. Habits are powerful things. Habits turn actions into attitudes, and attitudes into lifestyles.”
We are now on day 6 of lock down. Reflecting back to the first few days, I remember how uncomfortable and out of sorts I felt. Working from home, having our girls playing, fighting, laughing and crying as the day went along. Where is my quiet office where I could just focus on work responsibilities and come home after a long day and be with family. To clearly distinguish between work and play. Quickly I realized that we as a family had to set boundaries between work life and play time in our home environment. Make no mistake, our family are the ones that will support and lift us during this time and probably need us now more than ever, be intentional with your “play” time. If you are at home, make an effort to have breakfast, lunch and dinner together as a family.
The final principle below is a combination of my personal thoughts and tips extracted from the Small Business COVID-19 survival guide compiled by Marnus Broodryk out of input received from over 27,000 other South African entrepreneurs.
Principle Three (Last Principle): Finances
Cash is the difference between life and death for a business. Here are some ideas and how to increase sales and manage cashflow better:
- Offer discounted vouchers that can be bought and paid for now and redeemed later;
- Give the option of free delivery to boost online sales. Rather lose the delivery cost than a customer;
- If you are not selling online, now is the time to start;
- Many people are losing their jobs, which means there is a lot of talent that needs a home. See if you can employ them on a commission only basis;
- Advertise on social media. People are spending more time there now, especially as they’re stuck at home, and not much else is going on elsewhere;
- If you exclusively catered for international visitors, drop your prices and let locals experience your products and services;
- If you sell services, make sure your website can facilitate online interactions;
- Contact your clients and understand their current needs in this environment and see if you can offer a new product to meet that need. Create the opportunities;
- Offer paid-up clients a free service with your existing service offering or a discounted rate if they sign up to longer periods;
- Negotiate with your landlord the possibility of discounting rent or holding off on increases;
- Offer settlement discounts for early payment to your clients;
- Offer customers the option of paying their bills by means of their AMEX or Diners Card, if done before certain date (of your choosing);
- Check in with your business banker to see what additional facilities you qualify for or what assistance the banks are offering during the lockdown period;
- Ask clients to advance fee payments where you have fixed fee engagements;
- Be extra diligent on procurement. Every penny saved is a penny earned;
- Consider incentivising staff to help save you money, they have great ideas;
- Delay salary increases and bonus payouts to keep cash in the business to secure business sustainability first. (Make sure your people understand this, it’s hard time for them too);
- Review current processes and procedures to see how efficient they really are;
- Review your data costs, and see if there are better options out there.
Apply and explore government COVID-19 allowances and bank relief programs for this period.
Take care of yourself, your family, your team, your clients and your community. Seek the opportunities that will undoubtedly arise and monitor your finances closely.
Together, we’ll do this!