We are often told that the disciplines we develop during our normal everyday lives are what will help us handle the challenges we face in times of crisis. This is not only true for our lives, but can be applicable to our businesses as well. The term crisis means – a time when a problem, a bad situation or an illness is at its worst point. For businesses, a crisis is a negative event over which you have no control. There is much research which suggest that during a crisis small businesses are the most vulnerable, as they often do not have sufficient reserves to help them weather difficult times. However, crisis does not have to mean death to small businesses, especially when you know that you’ve got God’s backing. Although you may not be able to control the external negative event, you can control how you do business during a crisis. So, here are 10 tips that can help you and your business during a crisis.
1. Know that seasons do change
We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. This gives us hope that crisis will not last forever. Therefore whatever you do, be very wise with your decision making. Try not to respond permanently to a temporary problem. Do not shut down your business based on fear. If you believe that you really need to make a permanent decision based on a temporary experience, assess everything, weigh all options and seek divine wisdom. Whatever you do, do not allow your decisions to be based on fear.
2. Manage effectively
Effective management of your business is your primary goal during a crisis. The truth is, whatever you fail to manage effectively, you lose. Times of crisis will reveal your ability to manage. Work on improving your management skills. There is always room for improvement. Also, remember the story of the talents. A key message from this story is that effective management attracts resources.
3. Determine what your business needs and acquire only that.
If you have not been strategic in your decision making, now is the time to do so. Study your business thoroughly, know what resources you have, determine what you need, acquire only that which is needed and withdraw the unnecessary. Acquiring the unnecessary during a crisis is bad management. Be wise.
4. Use this season to test your business.
If you have not been conducting SWOT and PESTLE analyses on your business, begin now. Use this as an opportunity to identify your strengths and areas for improvement. Ask yourself, does my business have what it takes to survive? Your external environment presents both opportunities and threats. Assess how your environment affects your business survival, seek divine wisdom then plan accordingly.
5. Doing nothing is not an option.
While you wait for the next season, get to work. Work from a different perspective. Don’t give up in a crisis. Use it as an incentive to plan for the future. Identify areas in your business where improvement is needed. Seek growth opportunities. Begin to think out of the box. Seek creative ideas. Crisis brings creativity. There’s a saying that goes – ‘out of crisis comes opportunity’. However, take note that opportunity during crisis does not mean dishonesty, extortion or manipulation. Remember, dishonest money dwindles away.
Proverbs 30:24-25 states “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer”. If your business has not been in the habit of saving, begin now. Three reasons why small businesses should save are for growth, investment opportunities and rainy days. Gathering money little by little goes a long way. Proverbs 13:11 states “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
7. Protect your Cash Flow
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. To keep your small business healthy, cash needs to continue flowing through. As long as your business exists, you will have expenses. But the harder times get, the harder it can be to keep the cash flowing in. Monitor your cash flow very diligently, and forecast it monthly to ensure that planned expenditures are in line with accounts receivable. If you manage your cash flow effectively, no matter how tough times get, cash flowing out of your business will not be a problem. Crisis-proof your business by continuously implementing strategies to keep the cash flow moving.
8. Be wise with your cutbacks
Choose wisely what you cut back. Take time to assess your business thoroughly and implement cost-saving strategies where necessary. However, try your best not to cut your marketing budget. During down times, many small businesses make the mistake of cutting their marketing budget or even eliminating it entirely. However, down times are exactly the times your small business needs marketing most. Customers are restless and looking to make changes in their buying decisions. You need to help them find your products and services by getting your business out there. So don't stop marketing. In fact, if possible, step up your marketing efforts. Follow Jesus’ marketing strategy. He kept on preaching. He showed up in the stormy times when people needed Him and provided hope. I urge you not to hide away but to find ways to show up even during a crisis.
9. Practice the law of sowing and reaping
The law of sowing and reaping always works. Ask God for direction on where, what and how to sow, even in a crisis. Remember in every seed, there is a forest. Your business is your seed and all your other businesses grow out of that seed. Seeds bring forth trees (ideas). Ideas bring forth fruits and fruits bring forth more seeds. Never stop sowing. If your business is down to its last leg, turn it into a seed. Use it to be a blessing to others and you will see the results. Likewise, practice tithing. It will keep you afloat in rough waters.
10. Control your thoughts
Think positively. Don’t throw away your confidence. Strengthen your belief system. Go back to God’s promises. Meditate on them. Choose to believe them. Joshua 1:8-9 states “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” This is what will keep you during a crisis.
I leave you with these promises to hold on to:
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 43: 1b -2“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
Choose to believe truth over fact. The fact is that crisis occur but the truth is that God promised that you will overcome. Know that God is with you and be reminded that this too will pass.
Janice is a Certified Business Coach whose extensive professional experience in various aspects of business has set her on a mission to help business leaders turn their Vision into Reality. She works with them to develop and implement strategies, best-practice systems and take action steps that will help move their business forward. In addition to Business Coaching, she is an Entrepreneur, Certified Life Coach, Trainer, Wife and Mum. She also works with Christian business owners who desire to run their business based on Biblical Principles.