Dealing with financial pressure…
Financial pressure seems to be all around us at the moment from government to business to private individuals, nobody has been left untouched. If you are in the fortunate situation of having plenty, do one thing teach one other person what you have obviously learned somehow already.
Dealing with money has always been a great taboo in many companies but also in many households. In many families most children don’t find out what it takes to pay bills until they are well into their teens and when they very likely have already picked up the handout mentality of mum & dad will pay for it. If you were one of the lucky few that was taught to save a few euro’s everytime you received some, you possibly learned the best habit and if you kept it up throughout your working life you possibly are one of the few happy and unworried people in this crisis.
Most companies (and if we may say so governments too) spent everything they had and saved very little or invested very little. Very few companies did a lot of cost control in the good times and in fact that is possibly the best time to do it. In a harsh climate all of a sudden the excess will get stripped back and if you are wondering whether you should, just go ahead and work costs down to the bare essentials. It is amazing if you ask each and everyone of your staff members to come up with cost saving ideas, what will actually be saved, from trivia such as stationery to more expensive outgoings such as rent, etc.
Cutting costs has to work in tandem with increased sales efforts in order to ride out the storm. It may mean that what you are offering will need to be revised in order to suit a demand that is currently in the market and to suit a target audience that still has access to cash. In other words put the creative hats on and do some brainstorming around target markets and reworked services or products to suit a recession.
When it comes to dealing with money shortage, face up to reality as soon as you can. Talk to the people you owe money to, the banks, your staff, your family, etc. You very likely are not the only one in the market with this issue and in the end of the day honesty will stand for you in the long run. When you have no money to pay for something, come clean and say so. With the uncertainty that is around, making promises that you can’t keep isn’t helpful nor good for your reputation and whilst you may feel your pride get’s hurt when explaining that you have no money, it is worse when you have to face the stressful place of court cases and other orders against your name.
In order to function as a human being, you do have to compartmentalise your financial stress to one side. If it starts to consume each and every hour and every minute, you are in a downward stress spiral and unlikely to make good decisions for your business or yourself and that is if you are actually still making decisions. Compartmentalising financial pressure can be a challenge, but set aside an hour every day to deal with what you cand deal with in terms of money, whether that is credit chasing, invoicing or renegotiating bills payment or payment terms, just make it a finite amount of time. Then after that park the financials until the next day and focus on creating new business or looking after the business you still have. The clients you have now and that are consistently paying are the ones to keep for the long haul, so make sure you look after them.
If you find your mind wandering back to money worries consistently then it’s time to retrain it in parking the item for the hour that you have set aside. Pick a point in the office, preferably a walk away from your desk and any time your mind starts to worry about money again, write tthe worry out on a piece of paper and go put in it’s dedicated place. After a number of times your mind will catch on to continue on with the other business your were supposed to be doing instead. It is a matter of playing mind games as well as tackling the problems head on.
When you have staff or a partner if the financial stress is palying out at home, then explain your system and agree that only once a day will you discuss the money issues and look at potential solutions. Harping on about them consistently has never made them go away. If you really do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, go look for advice as soon as you can. Whatever you do don’t ignore it.
If the worst comes to the worst and we hope it doesn’t happen to any of you, but if you were stripped of all your posessions, your assets, etc. what is still left is you. It may be a dented and less proud version of the previous you, but your core, your mind, your values and what you stand for cannot be taken from you. Possessions can be but your inner self you have to keep and nobody outside of you can touch that. If this is your reality, then have a good look and maybe now is the time to re-decide and re-think what you want to do with the remainder of your life. If for a short time you need to lie low or take it easier in order to get back on your feet, then be gentle on you and go with it.
Whatever happens, know that bad times are always followed by good times, it is the law of economics.
We wish all of you struggling out there a bit of a boost both mentally as well as financially and we hope that you have the courage and calmness of mind to keep on working towards your goals even if they may take a little longer or a new route.
Have a prosperous final quarter of 2011.