2020 has been a tough year for all of us, but we’ve learned a lot. We want to share some of the business lessons we've taken away from this year that can help you create a stronger business moving forward.
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Essential Business Lessons From The Pandemic You Don't Want To Overlook
2020 has been a tough year for all of us, but I've learned a lot and I hope you have as well. Today, I want to share 10 lessons with you that I've taken away from this year that I believe can help you create a stronger business moving forward.
Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the right plan. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am obviously flying solo today and can't believe that it's almost the end of 2020. To say that this has been an interesting and tough year is absolutely an understatement for many of us. I have always been one of those people that just I try to pull out the value and the learning lessons from both positive and negative experiences.
So as we come to the end of 2020, I spent a little bit of time just reflecting, thinking about the year, and I came up with 10 business lessons that I've learned that I think you will find incredibly helpful in your business moving forward. So let me just without further ado, I'm going to jump into these ten lessons. So the first one is having cash reserves is a must. Having cash reserves is a must. Now, depends on the expert that you listen to.
I think that you want to have at least six months of cash reserves in your business. That means that if you stop making revenue, zero revenue today, you can fund all of your business expenses for the next six months. Think about how you would have felt in mid to late March if you had six months of cash reserves in the bank. The vast majority of businesses didn't even have one month. That is super unnerving. OK, but if you have six months at least. It buys you time, gives you the ability to really look objectively at the situation and figure out what you need to do to move forward. So having cash reserves is a must.
Number two, having a plan is essential. Whether it's a marketing plan, it's a business plan. The plan for your life, I mean, you have to have some type of plan in place for what you are doing. Now, the plan you start with is not the plan you're going to end with, OK?
Things are constantly evolving and constantly changing. That's why I like to use a lot of 90-day plans for whatever it is that I may be planning because it gives me a long enough term to see whether things are working. But it also gives me the flexibility to course-correct and make adjustments. But plans will help you eliminate distraction, right? Eliminate that information overload. They also plan direct and lead sensible decision-making. When you don't have a plan, there's just you don't know what you're supposed to be doing. So having plans, I think, is super, super important. They're going to change, but you have to have some type of plan in place that you're working on.
Number three, you must have diversification in products and services and your customer base. OK, that doesn't mean that you can't niche and you shouldn't specialize. I absolutely think that you should do that. But man, if you were 100 percent focused on restaurants or hospitality when this pandemic hit, there were businesses that shut down literally overnight.
They didn't have those cash reserves, they couldn't weather it, and they were just it was easier just to shut the doors down. Now, if they had been diversified into other markets. It still may have been difficult, but they would have been able to it would have been easier to weather the downturn. Diversification and products or services, right? Some of those some of the services you had may have taken a hit, but if you had others to fall back on, that helps give you diversification as well. So financial planners are always talking about diversification in your investments. There's no reason that you shouldn't have diversification within your business, especially with your revenue streams.
Number four, expect the best but prepare for the worst. I'm all about thinking positively. You got to have a positive mindset to keep you going. But having a positive mindset doesn't mean that you should bury your head in the sand and ignore reality. So expect the best, have that positive mindset, but prepare for the worst that could happen. Because if it does. You've got a plan, you know what you're going to do, it's going to be so much easier to weather it if what you expect to happen. Doesn't work out. You've got a plan, you've got a contingency in place, expect the best, but prepare for the worst.
Number five, focus on what you can control, not what you can't. There are so many things beyond our control as business owners. We can't worry about those things, we can't control those things, I can't control what happens to the economy, but I can control the actions that I take and the things that I focus on. And that is so much more empowering than worrying about all the things that we can't control. So focus on what you can control, not what you can.
Number six, fear can't be trusted. Fear is not a place that we want to make decisions from. When we are in a place of fear, we make horrible decisions and inspires desperate actions. So we cannot trust fear. We are not thinking objectively when we are in a place of fear and so having the self-awareness to know, hey, right now I'm fearful, I need to get out of this state before I start making really, really important business decisions. So fear cannot be trusted. You are not making sound decisions when you are coming from a place of fear.
Number seven, take things one step at a time. Focus on the next measurable step. It can be so overwhelming. And late March, it felt like, oh, my God, what is going to happen? None of us had experienced any of this before, you know. Oh, my God, is the world going to end? What is going on? Focus on the next thing you need to do to get to where you want to be.
It takes what can feel overwhelming and make it much more manageable. And you know exactly what you need to do next. And once you take that next step and accomplish that, then you can take the next step after that and the next step after that. So much easier to manage things that are much larger.
Number eight, doing the right thing is always the right thing. I want to say that again, doing the right thing is always the right thing. When the pandemic hit, my family and I were on spring break. We were in Winter Park, we were skiing. We had plans to go to the steamboat and ski in the steamboat. The resort shut down. We said, oh, my gosh, this is probably not a good idea, steamboat it's a resort town or the ski resort was shut down.
There was nothing we were going to do. There were recommendations that you really shouldn't travel. So we said, look, we're just going to go home. We called the property management company, said, hey, based on what's going on, we need to cancel. It's not a good idea. It's not the responsible thing to do. Well, what do they say? They said, sorry, we have a 60-day cancellation policy. You are within that 60-day window and you're not going to get your money back.
OK. I mean, that was within their policy. But I think most of us can agree that was not the right thing to do based on the extenuating circumstances. So they were again, going back to a place of fear.
I think they were fearful and they were making decisions based on fear. Those were not good long term business decisions for them because they got a lot of bad reviews. I will never do business with them again. Doing the right thing is always the right thing. I would have had so much more respect for them, I would have talked about them more, I would have gladly done business with them again, but now I will not. So doing the right thing is always the right thing. OK.
Number nine, security is a fallacy. Early on in the pandemic, I did a podcast episode about this. Security doesn't exist anymore. I mean, when I was supposed to go to college, the thought was go to college, get a good job, you may get a pension, and that stuff that doesn't exist anymore. Most people don't work for companies for 30 years or 35 years or their entire career anymore. Pensions exist, but not in many places. So the only security we really have is our ability to produce our ability to create results, especially as business owners. No matter what happens, we can always fall back on that ability to produce and generate revenue. That's our security as entrepreneurs.
Number ten, don't be shy about asking for help. I used to think that asking for help showed weakness. It really doesn't it shows strength and it means that you're wise, you have the self-awareness to say, you know what, I need help and you have the strength to say I'm OK to ask for help. It's not a place of weakness, OK. It means that you're wise and you know that you need help. And there are plenty of other people out there to help us as business owners. There are people that have solved the roadblocks, the problems that we are pushing up against.
We just need to be wise enough to find those people and reach out to those people because there are plenty of people that are willing and want to help. OK, so that's it, those 10 things. I hope you found at least one of those 10 things that you can use to benefit your business moving forward. I wish you and yours and nothing but the best as we come into 2021. Happy New Year if you're watching or listen to this after that, I've had a great start to the New Year, but I really do appreciate you for tuning in again.
I'm Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. If you want to gain clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return, hop on over to our website at rialtomarketing.com, that's R-I-A-L-T-O marketing.com. Click on the get a free consultation button. I guarantee you will get a ton of value from the call and walk away knowing exactly where you need to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return. Remember, marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the right plan. Thanks so much. Till next time, take care.