Uncertainty is the only thing that is for certain right now in construction. 2020 has taken us all for a ride; pulling us back and forth between calm and hysteria, with our only reprieve being time spent in the unsettled feeling of uncertainty.
The emotional, physical, and fiscal toll of world unrest has been debilitating for many. Business owners are feeling it too; having to make tough decisions to reduce spending, eliminate positions, or in some cases, shut their doors for good.
The chaos of the business sector wreaks havoc on our financial markets. Record-setting drops in the S&P 500 this spring have slowly rebounded. How long will the upward trend last? No one knows.
So how do we navigate the current economic landscape? Consider these tips to survive an uncertain market:
1. Understand Transition Management
Transition management offers an abundance of peace for those going through challenging stages of life personally or professionally. What is interesting about transition management is that most people “do it wrong” because they do not understand the process and often reverse the order of the three stages:
STAGE 1: The Ending
The first stage of any transition starts with an ending. Businesses are having to restructure, pivot, or look to additional methods to increase revenue this year. While considering these changes, it is imperative to let go. What does that mean from a business standpoint? It means releasing all thoughts associated with how you have done business in the past. This includes releasing opinions of why an initiative may not work and trying it anyway. The ending is the hardest part of transition management because it requires you to change the way you engage in business, think about business, and ultimately function in business.
STAGE 2: The Chaos
The second step of transition management is considered the chaos phase. It is where a business owner does not know what move to make next. He or she may start doubting all their decisions during this phase. Whether it be deciding what product or service to focus on, allowing employees to work from home, or closing the employee cafeteria, every decision seems unclear.
STAGE 3: The Beginning
The journey through a transition is challenging until you experience the “light at the end of the tunnel.” That light is known as the Beginning. It is the point during a transition when you start to understand why resistance is taking place within your business, and how to correct it. It is the point when you inherently know what business strategy to follow next. It is when focus and clarity return.
2. Perform a Business Audit
Not all businesses operate lean, even though most would like to believe they do. When fear hits, sales often fall off. At that point, it is imperative to evaluate every cost-savings option available.
The best way to decide how to make your team, operations, and processes more efficient is to conduct a complete audit of them all. Think about it, when was the last time you took a hard look at your organization, reviewing each employee and their responsibilities as well as other business processes like sales, marketing, and operations? For many leaders, it has been a while.
In uncertain times, conducting a thorough analysis of your business is essential in helping to identify unnecessary job functions and reduce operational inefficiencies. Performing a business audit may seem like a waste of time, when in fact, it could be just enough to keep you and your team afloat, while competitors are closing their doors.
3. Know your Numbers
Business owners review financial statements weekly, if not daily. You may think you have a firm grasp on which business segments make money and which ones do not, however, shifts in products purchased, services sought after, and customers your team is working with will undoubtedly occur during world unrest.
With that in mind, being keenly aware of the activities and business segments that continue to generate the most profit during difficult times is crucial. Furthermore, bolstering profit-generating operations while optimizing cash flow will further help to cement your place in the market for years to come.
4. Expect the Unexpected
There is something to be said about navigating an uncertain market by merely expecting the unexpected. There were very few people who could have predicted all the chaos our world has seen this year. From devastating fires in Australia to a world health pandemic, it takes wisdom to understand that life will always throw us a “curveball.”
Navigating uncertain times means learning to pivot every personal or business endeavor on a moment’s notice. Challenges often require us to make difficult decisions, ones we never expected to have to make.
As much chaos as uncertainty brings, it also inspires change. Change in the way we define work, change in the way we perform our work, change in the way we empower others to work. It gives us the push we need to make changes we have wanted to make for years – but never had the confidence to follow through. Surviving an uncertain market means being willing to change. Are you ready?
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