I realized when going thru old blogs that while these are unprecedented and very uncertain times, I have experienced many downturns in business over the years. In fact, just last year, we experienced our worst January in many years because of a polar vortex in Michigan. And now in 2020, we started the year so strong – our best Jan/Feb in the history of the business, and now this?! What to do?
You do what we as business owners always do when faced with obstacles – we buckle in and get ready to ride it out. We use the time wisely to prepare for what is sure to be a recovery. We listen to advice from the CDC and are cautious about how we conduct business during these uncertain times. We stay true to our employees and we pay them even if we have to close for a few weeks or have to reduce hours. Yes, it will be a financial hardship in the short term, but it will pay off in the long term.
And don’t panic. People don’t stop wanting and needing good hearing healthcare. There is a constant battle in our minds between positive and negative thoughts, and the more negative things we listen to, the greater our chance of being controlled by negativity. While it is important to know what’s happening in the world, we don’t need to be exposed to 24/7 news coverage to stay informed. Thirty minutes twice a day may be ample to stay in touch.
Reducing expenses is not easy but there is always a way to cut some “fat” out of the budget. I asked my accountant for a list of every check we wrote last year categorized by the type of expenditure. It’s amazing how cash can fly out the door when you aren’t paying enough attention.
There have been manytimes over the course of my thirty plus years in business when everything seemed to be going well, the schedule was full, revenue better than expected and then things ground to a halt. But there is always lots to do – clean up your database, plan new educational events, investigate your previous marketing activities to see what did and did not work, clean out those cabinets that have stuff you no longer need, update software, analyze your current pricing and see if it needs to be modified. Many times shipping costs increased or cost of goods went up slightly but you didn’t increase prices. Use the time to contact patients you have lost touch with and see why they left or what is going on. Call patients that you know are homebound and make sure they have the resources they need to survive these time. And, when you get all that done, just take a break.
While we are in an awful time in this world, good things can and will happen. Tough times are inevitable in business but be assured, you learn from each one and it’s what you do in these tough times that defines you. Awful can be followed by Awesome. Stay well. Stay Strong and Take Care of Yourself and Keep Believing that Things Will Get Better.