Entrepreneur Life: A Message to My Younger Self

Chris Michael Harris, Executive Producer

6/29/2020

One of the most critical steps that every entrepreneur must take right now is to believe in themselves and their business. If you lack the confidence to go through this crisis, then you’ll most likely fail.

Another step is to sharpen your focus even more. Finetune your business plan in one or two pages.

Make sure to include the details on who your customers are, what do you do for them, and what are the finances of your business. It’s also important to include details on who pays what for how much for how long and how much do you make?

Simplifying your business plan, even more, will keep you busy at least for two weeks.

For entrepreneurs who are building their business online, you have to be transparent. Otherwise, your audience will see right through you.

Bill was vulnerable with his clients, and most of the time, they will offer something that they’re vulnerable about in return.

However, at what level of vulnerability should be expressed when somebody runs a local business and can’t be opened during this challenging time?

In a business-to-customer (B2C) environment, you should go all out, especially if you’re appealing.

In a business-to-business (B2B) environment, it’s quite different. Competitors could pick up your vulnerability, and customers might misunderstand it, so engage in recurring revenue contracts. Check-in via phone or video call.

Deepen your relationship with your clients. People are going to establish a more deeply rooted affinity for your service if they felt they were with you during their time of need.

How to let customers know you are
experiencing a crisis

Learn to disassociate your ego like saying no to a customer. Just because a customer asked for it doesn’t mean you should do it. To say no is an excellent problem to have.

Everybody has a more significant business, for instance, Musk versus Bill Gates’ value. It’s more than enough. You could always find somebody bigger, better, faster, richer. We all have some friends that are wildly successful financially. Are they wildly successful in life? There’s no correlation.

Choose to live every day and love it. And not work too much. So the ego is something that can be dangerous. It can be in confidence.

Focus on profitability, not popularity, because a lot of the people that look popular online. So, change the lens by which we’ve used successfully and who we measure ourselves up against.

What are your personal core values? Being aware of those is essential and helpful in growing your business.

How do you compare your values to your competitors?

To have no competitors means you don’t have a business. You’re in the wrong industry. You can look up to your competitors, try to catch them, and lead them in some areas. That’s the strategy part of that trilogy.

What are your personal core values, and are you giving up any of those for this business? And if the answer is yes, then change the business.

If you have a job, you should probably find a different job if it’s impinging on your core values. And for you to live your life according to your values, you have to compromise. Like have a bigger team and give up some of the income or some the asset value to do it. That’s a fair trade-off.

How to navigate debt in a crisis

Have the leverage in that equation. Debts will be coming after you, and you have that ability to say, I can’t, but you offer what you can do and kind of work with them.

Figure out how to deal with those credit card debts and ignore the collectors. Go right to the source who owes you the money.

I am assuming that it’s about debt collections and loud noises or loud disguises. When someone demands something, pause for two seconds and then say, how am I supposed to do that?

People don’t like hearing no, but by saying, how am I supposed to do that?

You give an impression that you want to pay, but you lack the fund, and you don’t even know if the business will still be here for a year. Walk them through the whole scenario.

Whether or not you were liable for it. It’s almost to the point people get so loud that it can be emotionally daunting.

People act irrationally, and collectors might’ve bought the debt for 5 cents on the dollar, and they just want six. They’re not going to tell you that. If you say, this is all I have—the last resort.

If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. The business notes are very aggressive. They’ll threaten to trash your reputation, which is illegal, then do a settlement agreement.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The importance of coaches, mentors, peers in a crisis

Find somebody that can provide mentorship that has wisdom beyond your years.

Having a mentor who believes in you like the person and the entrepreneur and that you would find success again will set you free from the feeling of being trapped.

Open up and acknowledge that there needs to be changed in your life to be better. Succeed in changing the things that need to be replaced.

Also, peers can help you in times of need. When Bill woke up from his skiing accident, the peer group that he was in was with him.

They walked him through his ordeal, his divorce, but he was also with his peers when they rang the bell of the stock exchange. They did a lot of profound things together with people he doesn’t compete with. Business is business.

Managing Capital in a Crisis

You have to grow our business and then deal with whatever capital means are available. As entrepreneurs, our jobs are people, strategy, and cash. If you pull out one of those legs, the business falls.

Now is an excellent time to decide whether or not you should pull the plug on your business.

How can you move the business forward?

Stop reading the news. Even if there wasn’t a pandemic going on, stop reading it. 

Stop reading economic news for your market. Customers are facing things but just stop reading the rhetoric. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle. It’s all negative. Please don’t give it that energy.

Focus on what avenues you have to get your business there. 

It does not matter if the company is not significant, as long as you know the exact problem you’re solving. What’re one or two levers that the customer wants the most? And how can you double down on those? 

If you can’t, maybe you shouldn’t double down, but if you can, then go all in. 

Managing Family Dynamics in a Crisis

Share your business woes with your spouse or partner because if you don’t, it will bother you for a long time.

I went through some difficult times in my business, and my wife, Kim, was there for me. She also started a business, and we made it work together.

Put your ego aside because you won’t know if you’re going to have any money next month until you reach out and ask for help.

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