Overcoming Fear: Managing Your Business through Tough Times

Fear: it happens during the holiday season as well as throughout the year. Unfortunately for all CEO’s, we live in a great deal of fear. We worry about business coming and going, labor costs, insurance, benefits, taxation, and my favorite, “How do I look to everybody?”

Basically, it all comes down to the latter. If somehow or another we don’t live up to the expectation set before us, we find ourselves feeling inadequate. During the holidays, it’s worse. Psychologically, we are taking more time off to be with our families, allowing us to think way too much about our problems.

First of all, let me say that we have a lot of real problems and challenges in our business; we don’t have to invent or imagine anything. Clearly, every day is a new challenge or a continuation of an old challenge, so what’s the solution to combat everyday fears?

Deal in the Present

Always deal with current problems in your existing day. Quit wasting time visiting the future. Everybody wants to say how it’s going to be tomorrow or the next day, or in a month or in ten years, nobody can tell the future and certainly not with any consistency. Planning is fine as long as you take care of the “right now” because the “right now” is definitive. The future is only a ‘best guess’.

Catalog the Historical Evidence

Based on historical evidence, generally, people will find that they have been in business quite some time and given some thought they will find there are quite a few successes to date. Second thing is that each problem must be given a separate solution tailored to a specific issue.

Know What Can be Done Now and What Will Take Time

Categorize the problem into two areas: Problems that are binary (meaning they can be fixed instantly by a light switch solution) –or—Problems that are simply in process. The latter is called “unresolved conflict” and is part and parcel of daily, monthly, quarterly and annual business.

Business Crisis Management

Listen Only to Those Qualified to Help

All problems require a qualified professional to assist a CEO in his position. I could spend all day talking about qualified professionals and the lack thereof in the workplace. The bottom line is if you are truly challenged by what is happening in your company, find someone who has solved that problem either “that day” or any other day in the last 30 days. “Do not”, I say, “Do not” talk with people who have not weathered that particular storm.

Theories and generalities are not marks of success. Strong alliances are key and no one should enter battle conditions without trained soldiers.

Finally, I must say when it comes to looking good, remember this always: The person who perseveres, never gives up, and is willing to look bad is truly the most attractive contestant in the game. What, exactly, does this look like? Take note:

When you’re ready to negotiate your creditors and tell them the truth about what you can actually send.

When you’re willing to tell your CPA that it’s time to negotiate with the IRS,

When you’re willing to contact your insurance company and require a new solution.

When you’re willing to tell your wife the truth.

When you’re willing to retool your production staff.

When you’re willing to sleep three hours a night because you’re working on a new equation for your payables and receivables.

When you’re willing to tell your customers that you’re not a bank anymore and that they must pay on time.

When you finally understand that fiduciary duty is inconvenient, unpopular and brutal then, and only then, have you earned your right to fight the lion on the Coliseum floor.


Call me anytime, Patrick
760 662 9668

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