The 3 Types of Business Owners in a Crisis

14April 2020

My mentors passed this advice on to me and I want to pass it on to you.

A CHALLENGE TO BUSINESS OWNERS: BE STRATEGIC.

This crazy virus has flipped our world upside down in less than 2 weeks, and we business owners are facing especially stressful times.

But while the rest of the world loses its’ collective head, we are hunkering down, working harder than ever. And we’re super excited about the future.

See, we know that right now is our chance to jump ahead, while everyone else is terrified.

Sounds easier than it is! Our attitude and thoughts about this didn’t come naturally — we’ve had to train ourselves to see the opportunity through the chaos.

So how can YOU be more strategic and less fearful?

Well, author and performance coach Todd Herman recently conducted an interesting experiment.

He spoke to 29 top business leaders to see how they feel about the current situation. With permission, he recorded the conversations and had them transcribed so he could analyze the words they used.

Amazingly, Todd found that their attitudes could all be sorted into one of 3 categories:

The Fear Focused Leaders – this group is the most emotional, most concerned, and most overwhelmed.

The Unfocused Leaders – this group is the one still uncertain what to do, playing wait and see, and the most dismissive.

The Strategy-Focused Leaders – this group is the most focused on taking what it’s given and using it for growth/opportunity.

 

What are the current habits of the FEAR-FOCUSED LEADER Group?

  • They’re currently consuming five times more media than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used the word ‘GOVERNMENT’ or ‘TRUMP’ 11 times more than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used the word CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19 seven times more often than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used the word ‘FEEL’, six times more often than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used negative future pacing words, 13 times more than the Strategy-Focused Group. (Words like ‘struggle’, ‘fear’, ‘hard’, or ‘difficult’).
     
  • The nuance with analyzing the data in the previous point is that the context matters. The Strategy-Focused Leaders often also used hard/difficult, but it was in context to taking action and shifting focus. So a plus/minus framing was added to differentiate between the two contexts).

 

Next, let’s look at the UNFOCUSED LEADER Group:

  • They’re consuming over three times more media than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used the word “PLAN” (or derivatives) in a negative or needs-based way eight times more than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used the word ‘FINDING,’ in an emotional needs way, six times more than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They used the word ‘HYSTERIA’, three times more than the Strategy-Focused Group.
     
  • They talked about ‘VACATION/TIME OFF’, six times more than the Strategy-Focused Group.

 

Finally, the STRATEGY-FOCUSED LEADER Group:

  • They used POSITIVE FUTURE-PACING words, 13 times more than the other groups.
     
  • This group was four times more likely to have already spoken to other leaders about plans for growth, sustainability or opportunities.
     
  • They’re three times more likely to know about TAIWAN’s response to the Coronavirus. (Taiwan has had the fastest, smartest and most measured response. Despite the incredibly close proximity to China, it has a dramatically low number of cases when compared to other nations.)
     
  • They’re nine times more likely to be shifting product/service offerings.
     
  • They’re four times more likely to have already made changes to their teams.
     
  • They used the word ‘ACTION’ or ‘OPPORTUNITY’ derivatives six times more than the other groups.
     
  • They used the word ‘BUY’ eight times more than the other groups. (Context was around possibly buying other businesses, buying more advertising/marketing, buying more talent/hiring.)

 

Finally, here are some key summary points about the three groups:

  • No group was immune to currently experiencing a revenue dip. All groups had businesses experiencing a slowdown in the past couple of weeks. Not all, but some.
     
  • The Fear-Focused Group was the most negative and was watching too much media and occupying time on the blame game. This clouded judgment and is preventing them to see what can be done.
     
  • The Unfocused Group had a bit of ‘head in the sand’ thinking and could’ve easily been classified as a part of the Fear-Focused group, but they demonstrated some slightly different traits. Mostly in the way they talked about finding a plan or getting a plan more than the Fear-Focused group.
     
  • The Strategy-Focused Group leaned WAY more on healthy networks and focused on solutions more and were overall more positive and felt more secure than others. Some of this was because they didn’t consume a lot of fear or negativity.
     
  • ALL of them said, they WANTED their business to be healthy. However, with time, more conversation and data, their words were expressing a far different psychology hidden underneath…

 

Did you get that last part? “ALL of them said they WANTED their business to be healthy. However […] their words were expressing a far different psychology hidden underneath…”

I’d add that most likely their ACTIONS aren’t reflecting what they supposedly “want” either.

So how do you get in gear, get your mindset right, and then start taking the actions you need to take to come out of this even stronger?

  • Build a team, even if it’s just two of you. 
  • Project management – Have a system or process that guides you.
  • Prospecting systems that get new customers and upsell current customers.
  • Price for maximum profits by eliminating losing products / services / customers. What? Eliminate customers? Yes, if they’re unprofitable.
  • Build up recurring revenue by creating repeat customers.
  • Add additional profit streams. Put your thinking cap on. 

And of course, prepare for the unexpected! How much margin do you wish you had for times like this? Create a process for being there next time.

 

For your success,

John Guild
High Spark Media
Serving Northern Colorado

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglazer/2020/03/17/what-covid-19-reveals-about-your-leadership-as-a-ceo/#23bc81d149c7

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