BY BILL FAETH
After speaking with and coaching nearly 400 operators through this pandemic, it is pretty clear to me there are two schools of thought. For half of them, it’s all doom and gloom, with “everyone in the ground transportation industry is going out of business.” The other half is purely optimistic and theorizes that “we are going to bounce back immediately when the city/region opens up.”
Like most arguments, neither is entirely realistic and it is more than likely that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. They are emotionally charged predictions, and both can have negative outcomes for your business.
In cases like this, realistic thinking minimizes risk because actions or non-actions always have consequences, while it also helps you to determine what those could be.
If you are of the doom-and-gloom school of thought and believe everyone is going toclose permanently, then you’ve already resigned yourself to fail. You’re standing in your own way. Unfortunately, there are plenty of business owners that feel this way, and while some companies will certainly lock their doors forever, the outcome for this vision is non-action.
I am a strong believer that the negative results from not taking action to save your business can be overcome with some realistic thinking. Through realistic thinking, finding solutions and solving problems can be accomplished without the cataclysmic mindset.
The flipside of this equation is the overly positive thinker who believes they can sit back and wait for their clients to start calling, go back to normal in no time. This outlook also produces a high volume of non-action, but for different reasons. In this case, the owner doesn’t think they need to invest time in recapturing existing customers or acquiring new customers because there will be no loss.
This thinking is just as dangerous as the doom-and-gloom perspective.
If you are implementing realistic thinking, then you will see that the pendulum is somewhere in the middle. The fact is, we are returning to a different business climate than we left in March of 2020, and that’s across the board in pretty much every industry. Retaining and activating existing clients requires action and effort. It will be tougher and more expensive to acquire new clients, but it is definitely doable.
When you think realistically, you’re better able to plan and budget for the financial and physical investments you will be making to achieve your new goals. This will allow you to set reachable timelines, action steps, and financial projections to hit your targets as you implement your strategy and build your future.
Financial projections are a big part of realistic thinking. One thing is certain: No matter how quickly business comes back, we all need to be prudent as we manage our “cash runway” until we are clearly out of the woods in the coming year(s). This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend or invest in the future, but it does mean that you must track your cash flow on a weekly and monthly basis, so you know and can quickly adjust your burn rate if needed. With so many other factors of out your control, this is within your power to control.
So, where are you? I personally believe the future is bright if you are open to new market verticals, pivot quickly, aggressively invest in revenue-generating activities (client retention/new client acquisition), and don’t rely solely on internet marketing to make your phone ring. But, you must think realistically and make it to the future first. You got this!
Bill Faeth is the founder of Limo University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.