13 Important Leadership Actions Business Owners Need to take During Difficult Times
When in difficult times, the low morale of your employees may be the hardest task that you face. If your employees are focusing on what could happen in the future, they will start to lose hope. It is your job as the business owner to lead your employees during a difficult time. And there will always be a few.
Regardless if there is a recession or you lost your best client, the growth of your business is like watching a squirrel run, it will be all over the place. You should expect that.
Small businesses are more likely to face vulnerabilities during their growth. Although this is normal or even expected to happen, your business can prepare. There are countless possible ways that internal and external forces can cause major issues to a small business without warning.
The best thing you could do to reassure that your employees will have a job, that your clients can continue purchasing goods/services from you, or that you will have a business to manage, is to think about what could go wrong!
Keeping calm and updating your team frequently is important for them to feel connected with the business owner during tough times. If your staff sees you panicking, they will believe that they should also panic. This is not good for office morale, so reassure them that the decisions being made are in their best interest, allowing them to stay more positive through the tough times.
Keep the mindset of your employees as a “we-are-all-in-this-together” attitude that requires everyone to do their part. Your business success will come from boosting the company culture and inspire others to go above and beyond their responsibilities to brainstorm alternative ways to improve the business through their respective roles.
Boost your Office’s Culture
Problem-solving is time-consuming when in a crisis, but you can become a better leader by finding time to talk to your employees and understand how they feel by showing compassion to their concerns. Uncertainty and frustration may be present in the responses that you obtain. Encourage your employees to come to talk to you if they have further questions or concerns to avoid the backlash that office gossip incidentally comes with. Your company culture will be brightened by your integrity and involvement.
To keep your team’s mind off of the bad things, continue to reward those who go above and beyond even though they may be worried about their future with your business. If your team needs more guidance, establish goals or missions that can come with an inexpensive reward to keep your employee’s spirits uplifted.
Innovate your Marketing
Updating your business’s presence can help drive in customers and increase revenue, aiding in the removal of a tough financial situation. Consider newer and cheaper advertsing like social media pages to advertise on, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Tiktok. The more often your targeted audience sees your advertisement on their feed, the more likely they will buy your products or services due to their founded trust with your brand.
Podcasts are a wonderful informational tool where verbal content regarding your product, service, or business progress can be posted for listeners to learn about your business. Listening to an influential figure from your business allows your listeners to understand your company culture and values. Potential customers will gain trust with your brand and do further research to purchase your products or services. It is worth the costs to do more marketing, so you can have a consistent stream of clients at all times.
Have Risk Management Checkups
With a busy schedule, it is easy for a business owner to neglect the necessary updates that may be needed. When something goes wrong, it usually comes with a large price tag to fix. To avoid this, hire people or ask your accountant to do frequent measurements and checkups. This investment will cost you less in the long run and you will be better prepared.
If you are in trouble now, then think about what else could go wrong so that you can be prepared with the best options.
Being able to identify the bottom-line reasons why risk is created in your work environment is a key factor in strategic business planning. Risks can arise from technological outages, poor strategy, bad location, building hazards, and poor financial management. Establishing a risk assessment, make updates, and even consider obtaining insurance to limit the damage.
Personal Business Development
Effective leadership comes with the enhancement of self-awareness to help make difficult decisions that are still ethical and echo your values. As a small business owner, you can lead and grow your business the way you want it to. This may get overwhelming due to drastic growth in customer demand or low profits, but remembering the core values and motives you started the business with is important. You must remember to not make selfish decisions that benefit you, but also your employees and customers who generate your business’s revenue.
As a small business owner, finding ways to bring the personal touch back to your business will restore the original principles you began with. This can be done by adding thank you cards with every purchase, signing your name on every email newsletter (in which 77% of consumers are more likely to make purchases from a personalized email), or add your photograph and name on various pages of your website. Finding ways to be more involved will reinstate your passion to make the business become what you’ve always dreamed of.
Finding time to teach your team what leadership skills you abide by, will build their trust in your decision making during the difficult times. Employee attitude and business success is a reflection of the business owner’s leadership qualities. So always be ethical, strategic, intelligent, and passionate when expressing your aspirations for your business.
Learn what motivates your team and what their goals are. When the small business owner takes time to get to know their team and fairly aid their needs, your staff will grow a deeper attachment to the business, in which they will help work through the rough times with you. Whether they try to sell more, market more, make more calls or reach out to existing customers to ensure they are satisfied, there will be positive results.
Develop a System of Procedures
Successful leaders provide their employees with structured responsibilities. Rather than forcing your workers to perform by opinion and chance, promoting standardized procedures will promote safety and consistency for your business. The time that is saved for training new hires and liability that is avoided will save your business a lot of money.
Implementing standard operating procedures for various systems in the business will allow for fewer mistakes and speedier procedures. These step by step instructions will standardize your financial department, your general production/operations, your sales, and customer service. Your employees will be aware of their responsibilities and become less prone to error. However, mistakes do happen in all sorts of work environments, so procedure training can be offered continuously to avoid recurring mistakes.
Operate with a Valid Plan
The best leaders arrive to work every morning and follow a checklist with tasks to provide your day with direction. Keep a level of normalcy by still going through daily functions previous to the adverse events, but also find extra time to brainstorm plans with your managers and leaders about the various possible outcomes that could occur. Forming a tentative plan for all outcomes will allow you to be more prepared. Be sure to see how everything plays out and reestablish these plans as progress or no progress is made.
Like usual, things may not work out as planned or the situation your business is facing may be out of your control. This does not mean that you are not a good leader. Instead of wasting valuable time worrying, keep your team in touch with what is going on, and provide them with reasonable sales and marketing goals to ensure there is enough revenue to at least break even.
Obtain a Loan
When risk becomes reality, expenses do not come to a halt just because your business is going through tough times. Small business leaders often fear the idea of getting a loan because of high-interest rates or because they have low credit score history, making loans harder to obtain (especially without high-interest rates). Your leadership style should never be based on fear and what-ifs, but rather on confidence and intelligent decision making.
Great leadership comes from making tough decisions. If your business needs capital as soon as possible, look into your options! There is nothing wrong with paying off a loan when your business gets back on its feet and back to normal functionality. The most important part is that you still have funds to pay your great staff and employees that help sell your product/service to your loyal and new customers.
Consult with Professionals
Difficult times are certainly difficult, but you are not alone! Every business will face some hardship, many similar to what you are facing. To continue your business’s success, accept the leadership role of seeking professionals with advice to resolve your issue in a strategic way.
Financial insecurities are one of the most common difficulties businesses face, so consulting with an accountant is a preferred way to work toward resolving your money problems. They can help implement money saving strategies, find ways to reduce your tax burden and find state or federal financial assistance that may be available to you. Work with a digital marketing agency to update your website, rank your products/services on search engines, and advertise on the internet. As technology advances, expanding your digital footprint is necessary to reach potential customers who are inclined to spend money online.
Business leadership is made up of internal decisions that define the sustainability and future success of a business. About 80% of businesses report having declining or stagnant revenues from the start of their business and do little to nothing to change it. Building proper money management is a series of financial choices that are tricky and arbitrary but is a better approach than stopping operations and firing employees due to insufficient funds.
To establish what costs are weighing your business down, create a spreadsheet with your expenses, and categorize them by: ‘necessary’, ‘sometimes necessary’, or ‘not vital’. Establish a restrictive, budgeted amount of expense costs that you can afford to resume daily operations. Cut costs from expenses that are listed as ‘not vital’ and prioritize those that are ‘sometimes necessary’. Successful business owners will help the departments whose budget was cut operate in alternative ways.
Although you practice communication skills daily with your staff and employees, speaking to them about your own business’s hardships will be tough. However, keeping your entire team in the dark is never a good idea. In the event of a worst-case scenario, hardships that the business is facing should be communicated to your staff and employees so that they could prepare themselves.
Try your best to avoid the chances of office gossip and rumors that will send your employees into panic and massive outrage. Keep your employees in the loop by explaining what is happening, what actions are being taken, and outcomes that may occur. Your team will appreciate your honesty and will respect you for trying your best to help keep the business afloat.
Learn from Mistakes
Whether your business is failing due to a global pandemic like the COVID-19 outbreak, a recession, poor financial management, poor location, or insufficient marketing, you should examine the alternatives that could have been taken before your business’s downturn. Once you’ve identified exactly where your business was lacking, you must make all necessary changes and improvements to show your staff, employees, customers, and investors that your business will make necessary changes to ensure its future presence.
Once your business resurfaces to stability, thank all those that have aided in resolving the crisis and your team for being supportive and patient. By improving functions that were proven to be insufficient in the past, you will be able to prove you are a great leader and that your business is here for the long run.
Preparing for hardship shows that you are a great business leader. As a leader, it is your duty and obligation to understand all possibilities of a bad day in the business world. Disregarding the possibility of a financial, marketing, organizational, communicational, or morale hardship in your business is simply ignorant. Successful business owners work to structure procedures, check-in with their employees, consult with professionals, and manage their risks to ensure that liabilities and hardships show up as least as possible in the business’s future. Make changes in your business structure today to increase its sustainability!
A Business Lines of Credit
Financing Solutions provides a business line of credit to small businesses that have over $400,000 per year in revenue. Financing Solutions is a better product than you would expect if you went to the bank. Financing Solution’s credit line costs nothing to set up and nothing until used making it a great cash backup plan. A cash back up plan that can help give you back time and money when there is a problem.
The unsecured business line of credit requires no collateral and no personal guarantee and can be applied for with an online 2-minute application that requires no documents. You will receive a written offer letter to consider and they do not run any credit check until you decide you want to move forward. If you decide to set your credit line up you will need to send in a few simple, easy to get business documents.
In the past, setting up a line of credit with a bank took a lot of time and money. The only time a small business would set up a bank line of credit was when the business owner knew there would be a problem and that a working capital business line of credit would be needed.
With Financing Solution’s business line of credit, you don’t have to know there will be a problem. Just set the credit line up just in case there is a problem or an opportunity. Everyone should have a line of credit, just in case.