There is no doubt that this pandemic will stress every small business in many ways. How can you figure out if your company will be one that survives and thrives?
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, I put this question to one of the few small business owners that I have met in my career that understand the intricacies of running a company successfully.
Jay Goltz Interview – COVID Stress Test for Small Business
Jay Goltz started a picture framing business right out of college in 1978; a decision that was not received positively by his family. He says that when you went into business for yourself back then you “weren’t called an entrepreneur, you were called a loser”.
But the company grew quickly and became the largest in the country in its industry. Jay also has a book called “The Street Smart Entrepreneur: 133 Tough Lessons I Learned the Hard Way” which has been translated into three languages.
Jay believes that the pandemic is different than anything his business has experienced in the last four recessions. He says that “suddenly the government closes my business for 12 weeks, but then comes up with the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) which was a lifesaver.
“I had 110 employees that were very anxious and then one of my stores was vandalized during the social unrest (in Chicago),” he said in our interview.
But Jay adds that what he has learned about business is that you “just have to deal with it… there is no complaining in entrepreneurship”.
The first steps Jay suggests is to stop listening to all those alarmists and start to make adjustments. He adds, “The key is to have focus, not fear. Look at your inventory, how much cash you have, figure out what you will do with your employees, and how you can reopen safely.”
Jay believes that small businesses will say the coronavirus put them out of business, but what really happened is the owner made the business fail because they did not make adjustments in the marketplace. He says in this market disruption, there are always opportunities; some competitors will close and customers will be looking for a new place to make their purchases.
COVID Business Stress Test
His stress test to gauge if your company can survive includes asking yourself these questions:
- Was your company healthy and growing before coronavirus? If so, you probably start the downturn in a good place.
- Do you owe a lot of debt you can’t pay now to the landlord, investors, vendors or the bank? This will put more stress on the company and need to be renegotiated.
- Is your head still in it? If you are tired, do you have the will to go on?
- Have you lost any key employees during this time?
- Do you have any additional resources like added money in the bank until your revenue comes back?
Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show.