Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

If you know a member of the US military then you may have heard that phrase before, it describes their approach to success in the face of adversity. You can develop the best plan in the world but sometimes things don’t go the way we planned.

Today’s business environment, different that the one we had just a month ago, is a good example of that.

If you watch the people and businesses around you, there are two responses. The first is to panic and hunker down. This is a short term response best suited to snow storms or power outages. Consumers make quick shopping trips to buy large volumes – possibly more that one needs – of necessities. Businesses close, send staff home and hope everything will be okay when it is over.

The problem becomes that if the turmoil will not be short lived, a few days or a week, then stopping there may mean you are not in a position to come back.

The second reaction may include that first step, in an accelerated fashion, then move quickly to next steps that would be required to overcome the challenge if the situation lasts longer than expected.

Let me first point out that not every business can work around every challenge, but I know a lot of business owners that will exhaust every possibility.

A related TV quote I recall that applies here is: “The Universe, if you think about it, has conspired to put you right here, right now…  Now off you go, we’re all waiting on you.” (The Unit, Jonas Blane)

In a military scenario that motto, “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome” is part of their training from day one. They may someday be in a place they are not familiar with, may not be able to communicate with leadership or may be having equipment problems. But they have a mission and an operational philosophy that they have trained for over years.  They will know what to do when adversity hits, no matter how tough the situation becomes.

Business owners are not that different. Owning a business takes a lot of training, drive and you are on a mission every day and have been for many years.  Franchisees have a support team, systems and people there to work with them through adversities.

If you are an employee trying to figure out what is next for you, stabilize your situation, then think about what you can put in place that will give you more control in the future. As you consider franchises, look at the market right now and see who is still working, what services are necessities and where you may build an empire you can depend on.

Now, business owners, let’s talk about next steps (though this is unfortunately brief).

First, figure out what you have to work with. Can you stay open to the public? What changes do you need to make to fit current regulations? Can you get inventory? How will staff be able to report to work? What needs do your customers have? Write out everything you know about your current situation.

Now, let’s address the pain points:  What costs do you have that can be managed? Will your landlord hold off your rent payments for a period of time? Can you lower your insurance cost because it is based on business volume and that has dropped? Work with your vendors on any money owed there.

Now that you have sorted out all the pain point you can we need to move on. You need revenue; this may mean revenue from different sources than you have seen before.

Restaurant owners need to become fast experts at delivery and pick up. You need to tell your customers that story; social media is about to be your best friend. Whatever you spent on social media marketing before, spend more now. Your customers are stranded at home surfing the internet.

Gym owners can make a big leap into posted, video or streamed workouts and nutrition coaching.  Your clients will be at home and missing their workouts as well as their gym community.

Retail shops can do online demos, take orders by phone or online and deliver.

Service providers like plumbers and electricians, many of you will either see little change or possibly even increases in demand.

Times of economic or social turmoil are also the greatest opportunities for new ideas and growth. There were more millionaires (a really big number at the time) created during the Great Depression than in any other era in US history.  Those millionaires were people that Improvised, Adapted and Overcame the challenges presented to them; they thrived and found opportunity while others chose to just try to survive.

Now a first time call out for anyone needing guidance for their business or transitioning out of a job, I want you to feel comfortable reaching out to me. I will take your call personally and we will brainstorm your challenges and find workable solutions. Please don’t hunker down and hope, let’s go find your path through.

You are ready for this challenge. I believe in you, we will get through this together.

George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many of the top franchise ownership groups in the world. With over 25 years of experience in both start-up and mature business franchise operations he is uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of Building their own empires. Whether you have an existing portfolio or searching for your first franchise, he can help you to pursue your dreams. Contact the Franchising USA Expert, George’s Hotline: 703-424-2980.

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