Have we really learnt from the past? Are we really ready for what is to come? I suspect so many business owners have not learnt their lessons, probably never will and now business is opening up, they will be in trouble.

I read an article just yesterday about a pub who had over 250 no shows over the last couple of weeks from people booking tables and not turning up. We cannot just assume we can pick up where we left off in March 2020. The impact may not have been so large from no shows back then as businesses were open 7 days a week and everything was rolling along ok. Now is different. For heavens sake if you are in a business where you rent chairs or tables out in times slots, take a deposit. I don’t care whether you know the people or not. Take a deposit. Most people will not have a problem with this. Everyone so desperately wants to get out and do normal stuff. If they are genuine, they really will not have an issue paying a deposit. You need to secure your business, your income and your sanity. If people are genuine, they will not have an issue. You need to protect yourself. 

For over 30 years while I was running my Advertising Agency, I never did business with anyone without a purchase order or some form of payment in advance. Why would I? I know so many business owners who constantly told me how much business they had done in a week or a month. I used to ask them have you been paid yet? If their answer was no, then I said you have done NO business until you have been paid. Change the way you have done business or you seriously risk making the last 12 months last so much longer.

This is exactly why so many business owners think they know it all. They always do what they have always done. They do everything themselves and they never ask for help. That is totally insane – The definition of insanity is doing them same thing day after day and expecting a different result. If what you are doing is not working or not working the way you want it to work, DO NOT keep doing it. Ask for help. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. The help and support that is out there – if only you ask – is phenomenal. 

Even those of us who have access to so many business owners who can really help them add value to their business do not ask for help and I really do not get it. Any outsourced supplier you bring in to your business should add value to your business. It should not be viewed as a cost but as an investment and as with any investment, it should make you money. If it doesn’t, don’t keep doing it – at least not with that person or outsourced business. It does not mean you do not do it again at all, but find someone else you can work with who will add value. Being in business for yourself does not mean you have to do it all yourself. It means you have more control over your life. What we all want is a business we own and which adds value to our lives. What we do not want is a business that totally owns us and drains the positive experiences out of our lives. 

So learn from the past, be ready for the future. Take control of your lives and make sure the lessons learned from the last 12 months help to put you in a far better place than you were before. 

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 25/04/2021