Kelly Spors, the Wall Street Journal Small Biz columnist, is leading a panel A Small Business Survival Guide to the New Economy. She sent out via twitter a request for good questions to lead the panel off with. I recommended, "What can a small business owner do to create confidence for themselves and their employees when soooo much is uncertain?" Kelly liked the question and turned it on me. Given that twitter only allows 140 characters in response, I thought I'd reply via this blog.
- Remember that life has always been uncertain and that today we have only increased our awareness of uncertainty.
- Keep your focus on the future - not on the past. When I was a financial advisor, I used to say that every day you make a buy/sell decision. It doesn't matter where your stock was, it matters where it is. The key is to focus on the actions that give you the best possible chance for better results in the future.
- This leads me to my third, and by far, my most important, point. When times are difficult, focus is the key to success. Narrow your focus and expand your yield. Prioritize - don't work on more than five things; and have one area clearly delineated as the most important. Keep a warboard in front of your entire company. Focus on doing something important every day, even if it means you take less action.
- Finally, report the news to your people. Small business owners (and even larger business executives) mistakenly believe that hiding bad news from employees keeps confidence up. Trust me, if you leave your people to assume reality; their assumptions will be far worse than reality. When everyone know what is going on, they can work well together.
What would you do?