The past 9 months have been a unique time for small businesses. Many were coming out of 2019 well positioned and the beginning of 2020 looked like a potential for record performance. These were the “healthy” businesses. At the same time there were many small businesses that were hoping for 2020 to repair their dysfunctional business. They were going to add some sales to the organization so they could survive. These were the businesses with “Pre-existing conditions.”
When the pandemic raced across the nation and various government decisions were executed, there was a toll on both life and business. Those people who had pre-existing conditions were hit the hardest. So too were the small businesses with pre-existing conditions. The media tallied the cases and deaths each and every day. Money was pushed at businesses and PPE and ventilators were pushed at people. In some cases the outcomes were outstanding. In yet other cases the outcome was tragic.
As business leaders we must learn from these situations. How many small businesses had or are gathering back a rainy day fund equaling at least 3 months of fully burdened operating costs stashed away to keep them alive in a crisis? Has your organization rethought how it needs to look at its finances?
Business is not going back to normal. The landscape has changed but like after a big storm. Buildings need to be rebuilt. Uprooted trees need to be removed and new trees planted in their place. This is true coming into 2021 for your business. Now is the time to look back on 2020 and plan for 2021. There are still a lot of unknowns but that is absolutely no reason to ignore what you do know and plan accordingly. In some cases businesses are just reopening. The footprint of their business is smaller so changes to the expense line must be smaller. Many of these decisions were made on the fly and needed to be revisited to insure the math works going forward.
There may or may not be additional government support so your plans need to accommodate for either outcome. The reality is that subsidies are not to be considered revenue replacement. They should be looked at as supplemental and needing to be paid back such as a loan. It makes you look at them through a different set of lenses. Consider viewing them as “Angel” investor dollars who expect a return on their investment. As the leader/owner, place yourself in the position of the return on investment using supplemental dollars going forward.
This week is the time to get to planning 2021. You never know all the variables but use what you do know and have plans to address the variables the best you can.
Need a Promise Guide to help you navigate into 2021? Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and talk to a “Promise Guide” about planning your future.
A long time colleague of 25+ years has released his first book on the escapades of being his own person and his journey of being an entrepreneur. If you are an entrepreneur or small business leader you owe it to yourself to give his new book a read. You can pick it up on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/y3rew7g5
Looking for a small business coach or as we call it – Promise Guide? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and talk to a “Promise Guide” about planning your future.
Schools in one form or fashion are back in session. Maybe the education is being done in person or maybe a hybrid format or possibly all virtual. Regardless of the delivery format the education of future generations is taking place. If we take a moment to move back in time to our elementary or high school days and place yourself in the desk of algebra class we will all experience a different tingle in our bodies. Some of us might feel a sweat coming on because we disliked the subject. Others might experience some level of excitement as math came more easily to them. I call your attention to these experiences not to have you relive algebra class but to give you the opportunity to think about what solving for “X” was all about.
Math is about numbers and algebra was about finding the correct value for a variable. Although I was pretty understanding of math and algebra, it was not something I understood why I would ever needed it. I understood geometry and its practical application especially as I moved into becoming a journeyman carpenter and needed to layout stairs and roof rafters etc. Algebra on the other hand was just so out there it never clicked as to practicality of using it in my lifetime.
Boy was I wrong!
Yes, I did use the traditional aspects of algebra in civil engineering school along with Trigonometry and Calculus, but the real use and value of learning to solving for “X” is used over and over again in daily life situations. It directly applies to the operations of a business each and every day.
As a business leader each day some variables come at you. Maybe it is an employee who resigns or asks for a pay increase. Maybe it is a client who told you they would pay their bill but no check has arrived and you have your bills to pay. Any number of variables come up each and every day. So what do you do? You begin the process of solving for “X” in one way or another.
No, you don’t write out numbers with little x’s and y’s on a piece of paper and do the math calculations but you do set the variables in motion in your head. You start moving various aspects to each side of the “=” sign to make things balance out to potential a resolution. You just solved for “X.”
This week, thank your math teacher regardless of the grade they gave you for giving you the basics of solving for “X”. Then go out to your organization and pass it along – Help one individual to solve for “X” this week and have them pass it along. In no time your organization will have a team of problem solvers rather than a team of people just navigating chaos.
At JKL Associates we are committed to helping you Solve for “X”. By engaging a “Promise Guide” you can up your development through a personal one on one system of improvement. Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and talk to a “Promise Guide” about your future.
During the past few months JKL Associates has interacted with a number of business owners on a variety of different challenges. Many were directly related to having to make difficult choices about employees and future plans for their businesses. As we had engaging dialogue, I would remind them. Although many challenges exist there is a silver lining inside the dark cloud which was overshadowing their dream. At that moment, it was difficult for them to visualize.
Some of these organizations had been around for a number of years. The owners were to a degree on autopilot. Yes, they were involved in one form or fashion in the business. They were making decisions, inserting themselves into daily operations (even when not in the best interest of progress) and showing up at various sales activities to demonstrate their client commitment.
What was different was their mental absence. They had begun to lose their original dream for the business. Their one time excitement which caused them to work long hours and talk to everyone they met about their business was now or had grown them into the curator of jobs for employees rather than a business asset.
With many businesses having gone through a shutdown of one sort or another, the playing field was level again. These businesses all had a restart. Competition exists for all businesses. The jump one business had in the marketplace over another business was substantially neutralized. Depending on whether a business was well positioned going into the shutdown had a great impact on how it is coming out of the reopening. There will be fall out as we move into the fall of 2020. Some businesses will not make it. These businesses have clients/customers which will still need products and services and therefore opportunity exists in the marketplace. So the dream is still alive and doing well if you allow yourself the option to dream again.
This week, take yourself back to those early days of pure energy and excitement. Those days when although you did not know where your next dollar was going to come from you pushed ahead to make the business be great. It sounds very simple but be honest with yourself. When was the last time you looked at your business through the eyes of a dreamer rather than the microscope of a doctor looking for another cure.
At JKL Associates we are here to help you dream and assist your dreams into possibilities. Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and talk to a “Promise Guide” about your future.
Labor Day is behind us and 2020 will quickly be nearing an end. We still have lots to accomplish between now and Dec 31, 2020. There will be a Presidential election which will have a distraction on many in the workplace regardless of which set of ideals they may follow. As business leaders we need to get our own houses in order. Finishing up what was a crazy year of a shutdown, a reopening and reworking plans which this time last year did not account for a pandemic.
So we can either throw up our hands and not plan – staying in the right hand lane and see what happens or we can set our sights on bigger and better times and put on our turn signal and move out into the passing lane. It is about making choices and taking action. Regardless of your choices – standing pat or advancing with commitment you are likely to run into obstacles. This is why planning becomes such an important part of your annual strategies. You likely did not include (Personal Protective Equipment) PPE as a line item in your budget last year. You more than likely did have a cleaning and maintenace budget but with the additional needs to clean due to COVID-19 that budget was used up differently.
The variety of change coming at us demands we remain focused on what we can have influence on while dealing with the unexpected. Maybe your traditional 5 year planning session is no longer valid in terms of certain specifics coming out of the pandemic. There are definitely critical aspects of your business which need timely attention now and each quarter moving forward.
As you shift into higher gear into the passing lane for 2021, remember the driving process as a guide for driving your business forward. First, have the positive intent to commit to the choice – Changing lanes. You can’t hesitate or it potentially can cause an accident. Second, put on your turn signal – let everyone know in your organization what is going to happen. Finally, once you move into the fast lane, do what you promised to yourself to accomplish even when the road ahead might be not completely clear.
This week is your opportunity to make a choice to move forward or sit back. Coming up in 2021 there is going to be lots of opportunities regardless of the outcome of the election. Now is the time to get the jump on your competition as they just cruise along in the right hand lane while you take this time to advance forward.
Ready to get your organization positioned to accelerate forward in 2021? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida to schedule a business changing engagement process.
As we all navigate 2020, many people I speak with are challenged by what is going on around them. The pandemic and what that means for their health, safety and future. The social distancing and what that means for work, school and personal relationships. The social unrest and how this is going to impact the future of our communities and neighborhoods. The election and what this could potentially mean for the direction of our nation and all of its citizens. These are just the tip of the iceberg of concerns many are dealing with in 2020.
I realize there is a movement of “Cancel Culture” which is trying to erase history in favor of some new and different future. Unfortunately, erasing our past and not learning from it has potentially disastrous consequences. Therefore, today I offer up a piece of history that I hope you will join me in regardless of faith, political beliefs or any other framework your mind might conjure up to skip this opportunity.
In August 1861, then Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States made a proclamation of a day of fasting and prayer for our nation. This was during the Civil War when our nation was at odds with itself. You might see some parallels to the environment of our nation at this time and place in history. There is division and mindsets which are at odds with each other. The proclamation of 1861 called for a day of Fasting and Prayer on the last Thursday of September that year. The last Thursday of September 1861 was the 24th. This year of 2020 the last Thursday of September is the 24th.
You might be asking yourself what this would have anything to do with your business. It might have absolutely nothing or could be everything depending on your present view of your situation. I offer this up to you as a means to give consideration to what you can do for your business, country and community. Maybe you are not a person of faith or just maybe you might be lost in your journey of faith. Regardless of where you are right now, all of us can participate in this day of Fasting and Prayer this coming Thursday, September 24, 2020.
The picture is a copy of the proclamation
and here is a link to a YouTube podcast for some additional insights.
I have been asking myself what I can do during these challenging times. I’m making a conscious choice to participate and ask each of you to make a “Promise” first to yourself and then to others to take on this opportunity for Fasting and Prayer for our nation.
At JKL Associates we live by the “Promises” we make. Interested in a culture where “Promises” mean something? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida or schedule a time on our calendar to have a conversation – https://calendly.com/jklassociates
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS – EMAIL US AT PARTNERS@JKLASSOCIATES.COM OR CALL OUR OFFICES – MI AT (313) 527-7945 FL AT (407) 984-7246
2020 has been quite the ride. Early in January the economy was going great. Unemployment was at all-time lows. If you wanted to engage your talents, there were definitely opportunities to support your wants. Then the virus arrived and began to wreak havoc on all aspects of our lives. From the direct health implications to the fallout of work and schools. Systems we thought we had a solid handle on went sideways in directions no one could have predicted. Issues of social injustice, riots, violence, and many levels of mob rule vs law rule have been being tested. As we position our personal lives and business worlds for the remainder of 2020, we also have a Presidential election which is weighing in on everyone as well.
As there is in each and every election, a lot is riding on votes cast and decisions made by you and me on candidates and other aspects of our communities. It is therefore critical that we understand the nature of rule of law vs rule of majority. In your organization there is typically a lead resource. Call them CEO, President, or owner but someone is at the top having not only the final say but also the final liability and accountability. If your business was a government some might say it would be a dictatorship. Generally speaking, you were not directly elected by your constituents to the role. You started a company and now run a company of many talented employees.
Our society here in the United States of America is governed by a Constitutional Republic. This was put in place by our forefathers to protect us all from our government. To give opportunity and framework to protect the little guy, the minority, the outcast. You might have just asked yourself that you thought our government was a democracy. Your answer regardless if you responded in the form of a question like on Jeopardy would be incorrect. You likely hear this word of democracy bantered about on media as if to train your ear and mind to believe we are a democracy but currently we are not. It is not the intent to make this a civics class or history lesson but as leaders in our business and our communities we MUST work from the perspective of fact and not guess or noise.
This communincation is brought forth as a means to bring dialogue to the forefront of business. In every organization there are challenges which need attention. The question this week is – do you have a framework of policies and procedures to deal with them? If you do then great! Are you accountable to them? If you adhere to a framework to build your business, take care of your employees and service your customers then your business is running under the premise of good business practices. You use the framework to enable and encourage rather than intimidate and diminish. This approach of investing and growing your business, assets, people, and customer base comes from being a leader and not a dictator who owns the business.
Your challenge this week is to look back upon decisions made in the past 8 months. Some were incredibly challenging with the economic shutdown etc. but give yourself some quality time to determine if you were mentally investing in the business future or putting up barricades to future prosperity. By having a framework like a constitutional republic where everyone can benefit from growth and justice so too can your organization thrive moving forward.
Interested in getting a framework in place to give navigational guidance to your business so it can run more independently? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and let’s have a meaningful conversation.
This weekend we celebrate the value of labor. A time to pause and reflect on all those who contribute to the benefits we all enjoy in our society. This year we have had many challenges to embrace and overcome. Some are still being dealt with while others may appear to be behind us still linger as we move closer toward the end of the calendar year.
On Labor Day, take a few minutes to say a prayer for all those who during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic have gone above and beyond in their labor for humankind —
Our Doctors, Nurses and associated hospital and medical staff, Research and other scientist, Our Police, Firefighters, Emergency Medical personnel and First Responders, Our essential workers in grocery stores, drug stores and many other providers of goods and services, Our postal carriers and various delivery service personnel including UBER and Lyft drivers for food deliveries.
2020 has been a year of many disruptions, distractions, challenges and changes. Let us all who enjoy our freedoms give proper respect to all who labor for our nation.
As part of your annual business planning efforts, you need to be starting the process to looking at 2020 and sorting through the information to plan for the next cycle of business. Yes, 2020 was in no way shape or form normal. Planning for 2021 is going to require special attention and time. The amount of change which took place so far in 2020 will have a carryover impact on 2021 so start your review and planning soon.
For some framework to help guide you in your evaluation of 2020, think in terms of a marathon and not a sprint. Both are sporting activity which are done by runners but typically they train very differently and get different outcomes. Your business needs to look at the nature of which type of runner you and your industry play in.
Using the acronym RACE – you should look at the following elements of 2020. R- Results, what results did you plan on having and what were the actual end results. A- Actions, what specific actions were taken (or not taken) to contribute to achieving those targeted results. C- Challenges, what were the challenges which presented themselves that either enable better results or derailed the progress toward achieving the results. As part of challenges, consider how fear of the unknown played into the actions taken and results achieved. Finally, E- Evaluate, looking at all the data points dig deeper than the obvious and understand what really took place. What influence you had over the outcomes and which were the results of things completely out of your control.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic shut the economy down which none of us had direct control over. In some businesses this had a direct impact on lowering results. Revenues were down and not all expenses were minimized. Government support systems contributed but how did those impact the results. In other businesses, the support systems contributions along with being an essential business actually gave the business a direct economic boost not planned for in the prior year’s plan. Those results would not have been achieved under the original planned conditions.
As you can see, each and every business was impacted uniquely. Therefore, each of us need to plan differently. Rolling over of the previous year activity and expecting more by pushing or doing more likely won’t be a strategy just more of a reaction. Yes, that is the planning process of some businesses. Taking prior year numbers and arbitrarily coming up with a desire percentage increase and letting the spreadsheet run a new set of numbers. I would not be supportive of such a play on numbers for any business.
The planning for 2021 is not a 100 meter sprint nor a 26.3 mile marathon but somewhere in the middle depending on the nature of your business, the level of data you collect and the commitment you have to the process.
One thing is for certain, those businesses who had a detailed plan and solid economics coming into 2020 are faring out far better to those that came into 2020 flying by the seat of their pants. We are all in restart mode. Even if you have never taken the time to plan out your business objective in the past. Now is a good time to start planning for 2021.
Need support for crafting your 2021 strategies and business plan? Want to engage a promise guide to help get your compass pointing in the right direction? Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida to start the conversation.
So what makes your employees tick? What keeps them motivated to contribute to the company’s objectives? What conditions are they looking for to enable them to grow and develop into their full potential?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you are not in touch with the needs of your team.
In the last century, the age of the industrial revolution from the days of agriculture, there were many really good contributions to our society. The automobile and advanced manufacturing were part of that time. Medical practices and the advancement of drugs have reduced many life threatening illnesses. Quality improvements, systems and procedures for all kinds of daily work routines have been created. Educational efforts expanded to allow for better understanding and knowledge to contribute to the success of both the business and the individual.
We are no longer living in that century. With the age of technology and digital infrastructure, the needs and the demands of people have changed as greatly as from the transition from agriculture to factories. Vast improvements in creature comforts have allowed for greater time freedoms and more expression of personal interests. Leisure time has expanded exponentially allowing for more distractions to the basics of working the field all day to working in the factory all day to working from home some part of the day.
2020 has introduced a whole new view of things to come in most all sectors of our society and business. Remote workforces and hybrid work teams are now part of many organizations’ operation plans for the future. Consumers have been introduced to more creature comforts of ordering online and either curbside pickup or delivery have now become integrated into the purchasing system.
As business leaders it is incumbent upon you to figure out how these changes are influencing both your customers and your employees. The employees which were furloughed or laid off may now be returning to roles which are different. Your customers’ expectations are different. Your employees’ view of their way of working is different. The changes which our society and business have had to adopt will not be temporary in nature. Many will become the new best practices of our business models.
As this continues to roll forward, having employee engagement will be the difference in many aspects of your business: retention of your best staff, retention of your customers and clients, revenue and profit production just to name a few. This week you should take the time to get in touch with your employees’ engagement needs going forward and determine how your business culture can support these new and evolving needs.
Need some insight tools to get directly into the understanding of each employee? JKL Associates has a suite of Employee Engagement assessments to bring understanding and appreciation for the how, what, and why a person engages the way they do. Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and let us show you how this investment will contribute to your future results.