February 10


How to deal with a business trauma

If you’re like many of my clients, 2019 was a good year and you’d big plans for 2020.


A spiky virus started terrorising the world. One by one, countries began closing their borders, and imposing lockdowns.

And, unless you’re offering an essential service, your business most likely suffered a significant blow too during the last year: employee fear, customer fear, ever-changing government-imposed restrictions, social upheaval, working-from-home, and unprecedented supply chain disruptions.

Perhaps you’ve stabilised the business now, or you might still be struggling. Either way, you’re probably a different person because of this pandemic.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing a terrifying event. Although Covid-19 isn’t close to the experience of enduring a war zone, the events of the last year may leave you feeling similar symptoms.

Now, as things begin to slowly reopen, you may notice a change in your outlook. The Mayo Clinic reports four symptoms of PTSD:

  1. Intrusive memories: recurrent, unwanted thoughts
  2. Avoidance: trying not to think about the trauma
  3. Negative changes in thinking and mood: destructive thoughts about yourself and other people
  4. Change in physical and emotional reactions: being easily frightened, overwhelming guilt, or substance abuse

Any of those sound familiar?

If so, you may be experiencing the psychological toll a catastrophic event can have on your psyche. There are three constructive things you can do now.

Option 1: Talk to Someone

Police officers and fire officers deal with PTSD by talking to a psychotherapist. Speaking to an advisor about how this pandemic has impacted your business can be therapeutic. They can give a different perspective and the act of sharing can lessen the burden. Give me a call if you’d like to chat.

Option 2: Rebuild a More Durable Business

Another constructive reaction to this crisis is to commit to building a more durable business that can better withstand shocks to the system in the future.

Option 3: Sell

Many owners – especially those that experienced the brunt of the 2008–09 global financial crisis – have been so traumatised by this pandemic that they don’t have the stomach for another disaster. As a result, they’ve decided to start planning their exit proactively.

Six steps to rebuild your business

If you find yourself choosing option 2 or 3, your immediate action plan is the same.  There are some things you can do now to make your business more durable in the long term (as well as more valuable)

  1. Focus on the products and services where you have a point of differentiation. You’ll have more pricing authority in the short term, have better cash flow, and be more attractive to an acquirer in the long run.
  2. Create recurring revenue streams that generate sales while you sleep. These can be in the form of service contracts, subscriptions, or maintenance plans. Aim to get most of your revenue automatically.
  3. De-risk your business, ensuring you’re not too reliant on a single customer or supplier.
  4. Create an employee handbook and systematise your processes to lessen your dependence on a key employee (or the need for you to call all the shots).
  5. Clean up your book-keeping, so you can more easily see the true picture
  6. Get control of your cashflow operating cycle to free up cash and reduce the cash needs of your business. Click here for my free ebook detailing the 15 actions you can implement now to reduce cash worries.

If you’re like a lot of the owners I work with, your business is part of who you are. When that gets threatened, it’s natural to feel traumatised. If you can redirect that energy into building a more durable business, you may never have to experience something like this again.

Get in touch for constructive ideas, tools and support to help you rebuild a more durable and valuable business.


Health and well-being

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