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27 March 2020

Dear You,

I hope you are doing well.

Actually, no, that’s a fucking lie! I hope you are quietly freaking out with uncertainty and a lack of control. Deep down you know that your attitude is wrong. Your goals are wrong and that you should stop with the “just survive” mentality and start thinking about ways to thrive and grow rapidly in this opportune time.

Think big.

Today, there is opportunity everywhere. The money is moving. It’s moving sideways in industries. It’s leapfrogging between industries. There are bargains to be had. You could be buying businesses at 20c on the Rand. You could be partnering with larger businesses that aren’t as cash flush as you. You could be saving your opposition and taking equity. One man’s pain could be your pleasure. Start thinking about it. If someone is in pain, someone will benefit. Go after those people and never stop selling. In times of famine, the gravediggers make money. Become a gravedigger or at the very least, start selling shovels.

Sales.

Today’s sales are easier than ever. I may agree with you that “No one is buying now,” and this may even be true for the next few days BUT access to the C-suite has never been easier. Think about it. Their excuses to see you are less. No one is “going to Cape Town” for a few days. No one is on leave. No one is having full day culture workshops. The CEO is sitting at home with his/her screaming 3 year old and is in the same situation as you. He/she has no 9-5. He/she has no Monday to Friday. He/she is online and available to sales after hours. Before hours. Weekends.

Not only is he/she available for 20 minutes, you can now sell to 20 CEOs at the same time, for 20 minutes. Create thought leadership material and run a webinar. Invite the 20 non-opposing wishlist clients and add value to the network. Sales en-masse. No restrictions. Be smart NOW. Timing is everything.

The office.

Remote working has holes. It’s your call on whether you want an office in future or not. Each has pros and cons. Each has costs and savings. Each requires a different kind of employee. Each requires your existing team to have a different mind-set. Each requires a different type of client. Each requires a different kind of boss. There is no right or wrong – just a future you choose, so choose wisely. No knee jerk reactions required here. While you are in a forced experiment, work out if this is your future and if the rental loss is worth the trade offs.

In remote offices the tech is easy. The culture is hard. The people management is hard. Giving autonomy and not checking bums in seats, is hard. Motivation and inspiration is hard. Always on, is hard. Measuring output and ignoring input is even harder. Not paying rent – easy.

Your team will save time and petrol money in the weeks to come. It’s your job to get them to make other savings in their household right now, too. Your business needs variable overheads, so does your staff.

Clients.

Give your clients space to breathe now. Be empathetic to their circumstances. They are feeling as much pain or more than you are. They may leave you. They may ‘pause’ your services. How you deal with them today will determine if they ever come back to you and if they will ever refer you. Are you building a trust-based relationship with them now? Isn’t that what you want? If they leave you now, just be there in the coming weeks. Pick up the phone and check in. This will serve you well in future.

While they are sitting in their lounges with pictures of their kids hanging on the wall behind them, they have dropped the boardroom attire and pretence. They are human just like you and this is the chance you never had to get close to them- the human.

Products.

You are building a product right now aren’t you? Something “smart” that can be sold online to the masses. You are moving from a niche physical business to a mass online business. Don’t do that. Don’t be silly. You have no idea how that business operates, markets and lives on such small profits. Make what you do today an essential service for tomorrow, like sanitizer- but not so overpriced.

Mind-set.

Stop thinking about today’s loss.

Stop thinking about the week’s loss.

Stop thinking about the month’s losses.

Start thinking about 18-24 months from now.

Who will you be? What will your business do? Will you be relevant? This is all a small blips in your business lifecycle. A deep painful pimple. Don’t squeeze it. Don’t scratch it. Don’t pop it – it will scar. It’s ugly. It’s sore but it will heal in time and you will forget about it.

Best practice:

  1. You would never walk up to a lioness and try prying her new cubs away with your bare hands. Protect your cash like a lioness protects her cubs -GRRROWL!
  2. Chase your debtors like Al Capone. Get paid now and stop being soft.
  3. Get close enough to clients to contract Covid. (Not literally Obvs). You need to know what’s going on in their business before they do. They may be at risk. This puts you at risk. Timeous Information is everything.
  4. Be ruthless with cutting overheads. Overheads may be a euphemism for your people. If they need to go for the greater good – CHOP!
  5. Think about thriving, not surviving. Prosper don’t insulate. Hunt down what you want – GRRROWL!
  6. You are not alone – ask for help. Join a community. Hell! – Build a community.

Kids.

If you have kids that can still be influenced by you – scare the fuck out of them. That’s right! Make this pandemic their World War 2. Hopefully by the time they run for government office or have the vote, they will move the defence budgets to the influenza budget and the war chests to the disease control departments. More people have died of flu since World War 2 than people died in both world wars combined and yet we build guns, not vaccines. By the time I’m an old man, I’m selfishly hoping the next generation use this war and its scars, to build systems and departments that will protect the old people [me] from the Covids of 2050.

It’s a new scary world with no playbook. No rules. This is your chance to write the rules. Write the playbook. Write the future chapters of your career. Innovation and iteration of your product is dead. This is ground zero. It’s time to rejuvenate. It’s time to reincarnate. It’s time to reinvent yourself, your business and your legacy.

GRRROWL.

@Spillly

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