My SFS students know that after I sold my business I worked as a part time white water rafting guide. (Rafting was fun but didn’t even pay my phone bill!) However, as a river guide I was required to learn CPR. (Which happily I never had to use on any of my clients!)
In CPR we used a simple acronym to be reminded of our priorities in an emergency situation. It was A-B-C which at the time stood for for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. In today’s COVID-19 world we too all need to be reminded of our priorities in an emergency situation! And yes, it is more important than ever to check your personal and company’s…
Airway, Breathing, and Circulation
So join me in a quick emergency ABC checkup of your business. (Medical professionals be warned: I’ll be taking ‘editorial license’ with medicine’s traditional ABC’s in this QuickTIP!)
Airway: If a patient’s airway is blocked life giving oxygen can’t enter. If your business ‘airway’ is blocked essential news, information and advice can’t enter and you’ll die! (Maybe literally!) So instead of only working IN your business work ON it by constantly listening, reading and learning.
Your ‘personal airway’: Avoid the political jousting, backbiting and faultfinding and go to the real experts. Your physician, local health authorities and the Center for Disease Control will give you trusted expertise. (Do NOT believe the fake news and newly minted ‘Facebook experts’ out there.)
NOTE: Once you’ve decided on reliable sources check back at least daily. The science on how to protect you and your family is sometimes changing HOURLY!
Your ‘business airway’: This is where things can get tricky. Sure, everyone has an opinion and their own level of ‘risk tolerance’. (Usually based on how desperate they are!) But do NOT blindly follow uneducated and/or irresponsible cleaners! Remember that the science on how to clean and protect against COVID-19 is also changing constantly. Using ineffective and/or outdated techniques against COVID-19 is unethical and could open you up to legal action.
NOTE: One widely respected industry expert is Barry Costa. CLICK HERE to register and watch COVID-19: Stay in Front of an Ever-Changing Crisis with Barry Costa (Interviewed by Bill Yeadon on 3/27/2020)
Breathing: After the airway is opened you must assess if the patient is breathing on their own. Your personal and business finances will be “breathing on their own” when you have either 1) adequate financial resources to carry you indefinitely or B) your income routinely exceeds your normal expenses. NOTE: Ideally you will achieve BOTH ‘A” and ‘B’! BINGO!
Your ‘personal breathing’: Cut personal ‘discretionary expenses’. Actually thanks to COVID-19 much of this financial chopping has been done for you! No more expensive eating out, mall shopping, night-clubbing or crazy trips! Plus the emotional craving to buy ‘bigger and better stuff’ is normally stifled in a crisis. (Terrible for the economy but great for your ‘personal breathing’!)
NOTE: Please don’t be too proud to check into government relief programs- your taxes are funding them! Plus many credit card, finance and mortgage companies are offering payment deferrals or other debt relief programs. Investigate them now. Your goal? Cash is king in a crisis so conserve it!
RESOURCES: I found the SBA’s COVID-19 page to be extremely valuable. The U.S Chamber of Commerce gives some good ‘marketing during COVID-19’ suggestions HERE. And the NFIB will keep you up-to-date on the latest government initiatives HERE.
Your ‘business breathing’: Same as above. Monitor your expenses and income like a hawk! CLICK HERE for a free Financial ‘Flash Report’ that give you a weekly (not monthly) snapshot of your company. If painful cuts need to be made do so earlier than later. Due to new generous unemployment programs it may be ‘kinder’ to lay off one willing employee than dramatically cutting everyone’s hours. And again, reach out to your business lenders and lease companies for debt relief… before you are desperate!
Circulation: Once the patient is breathing on their own they need circulation of oxygen-carrying blood to keep living! DUH! As does your company! Your business must have a ‘cash-carrying stream’ (there is a reason it is called ‘cash FLOW’) of profitable work. To start (and more importantly) maintain this ‘cash circulation’ flowing during COVID-19 will require hustle, ingenuity and flexibility on your part! Some ideas for the ‘3-legged stool’ of our industry…
Commercial: This sector may be your best source of work now. True, many businesses are shuttered during the COVID-19 crisis. But on the positive side what better time for them to ‘deep cleaning and sanitizing’? So start by reaching out to all your existing regular commercial accounts. Then make phone calls on new prospective business. (Especially on a large, labor intensive job many QuickTIP members are requiring a deposit up front.)
Residential: Cleaning in customer’s homes is a tough business even in ‘normal’ times. But now you need to protect the health of your employees and homeowners. Many cleaners are asking customers to vacate the home during the cleaning as a safety measure. Be sure to remind these clients: “Of course, you are still covered by our ‘100% Customer Delighted’ guarantee!” CLICK HERE for more COVID-19 health and safety precautions.
NOTE: Be very careful about over-promising what you can do. For example, carpet and upholstery can never be 100% “disinfected” so don’t be that guy! And instead of advertising “sanitized” it is better to state: “We have applied a sanitizer”.
Restoration: Floods and fires are still going to happen during COVID-19. Your challenges here will be maintaining ‘social distance’ between your workers. For example, many companies are asking their employees to drive separately to the job site instead of traveling together. (If your employee is providing their own transportation you should reimburse them for their mileage.)
RESOURCE: Our Strategies for Success: Growing Your Business Facebook Group is a valuable resource for up-to-date ideas on COVID-19. CLICK HERE to join thousands of cleaning and restoration contractors who want to help in ‘Growing Your Business’!
Remember, now more than ever, ‘We’re all in this together’!