The Bookworm – Part XVIII by Ben J. Pritchett
My wife is an eye doctor, and the year 2020 was supposed to be “The Year of the Optometrist.”
Her profession has been planning stuff for years, and it’s all down the drain, not even a successful live conference this year.
It’s more like “The Year of the Dumpster Fire,” but I don’t think even waste management companies want to lay claim to this trainwreck of a year!
With that said, even the worst of times can spell opportunity for some, even after it destroys others. Much of the Rothschild family fortune was made in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo.
Everybody thought Napoleon would win, but Rothschild knew he had lost a day before everybody else (even then, the information could make all the difference) and bet the family fortune on the London Stock Exchange.
The following quote was attributed to Baron Rothschild, “Buy when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.”
It takes guts to take a stand and invest money when your business is getting hammered. However, the most significant rewards are often achieved during the times of greatest risk.
If I may pontificate for a moment here, I believe there will be some great opportunities coming on the heels of COVID, but the trick will be recognizing when the COVID scare is finally over, and that may be months or years away.
Let me explain: Restaurants are one of the industries hardest hit by this pandemic.
If a small town or neighborhood had ten restaurants, and only six of them survived, then each of the survivors will have a more significant piece of the market after COVID. It will take some time for those restaurants to recover from the damage done, but then they will start to prosper.
In time, people who lost their restaurants or newcomers will jump back into the market. The competition will return. This will mean opportunities to coach survivors and newcomers when the time comes.
There will be lots of blood in the streets, but there will be opportunities too.
For business coaches, this will be a great time to get back to the fundamentals, and here are a few suggestions:
The Lean Startup
by Eric Ries
The author went through the agony of a startup that failed before moving on to several successful startups. Along the way, he perfected his system of the lean startup. This may be a future business classic!
His first failure was back when the tech bubble burst, a time when if you stuck “.com” at the end of your company name, there was unlimited money and investment to be had. Until there wasn’t, and then businesses crashed and burned in droves.
What do you do when money isn’t easy to obtain? You either don’t start at all, or you learn to do more with less.
I’m sick and tired of hearing the term “pivot” these last few months. Not everybody can pivot – as I noted above, my wife is an optometrist, we do eye exams and sell glasses, that’s it, there’s no pivoting.
However, we combed through our expenses and made things leaner and meaner. Our clinics aren’t startups by any stretch of the imagination, they’re both over 30 years old, but even an old dog can learn new tricks.
Learn what makes a business leaner, position them to grow when the world begins to return to normal, and they will prosper. This book is an excellent place to start.
Business Model Generation
by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
Believe it or not, you’re going to come across clients who don’t know what business they’re in. Sure, they know they sell widgets, but they may not correctly recognize the value proposition they offer; they may not know who their ideal customer is, and they may not be able to articulate the problems they solve.
I think we can all agree that knowing these things will help with almost all levels of planning. Without these answers, you don’t know who to market to or how to sell to them. The business will lack focus and direction.
We’ve all been in these businesses before. Companies where you wonder what exact business they’re really in. Restaurants that offer a thousand things on the menu usually do none of them better than mediocre.
This book will show you how to help your clients plan and adapt for the harsh new realities coming in the not-too-distant future.
It will explain standard business models based on concepts from leading business thinkers and how to apply them to your clients’ situations. It’s a sad reality that many of your clients don’t understand their customers, distribution channels, partners, revenue streams, costs, or their value proposition.
Business models are universal in the world of business – they apply everywhere. This book will help you learn new ways to give your clients a roadmap to face the brave new world that’s coming soon.
by Mike Michalowicz
I’ve been a little long-winded here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t flog one of my favorite topics one more time: business systematization!
If you’re going to take your clients back to a leaner and meaner business model, you’d be doing them a disservice not to help them systematize their business too.
Whether their business is down due to a lockdown or forced business reductions or rebounding because they have fewer competitors, get their systems in place.
Systems are an entrepreneur’s authentic path to time freedom and a big part of money freedom, but few know how to do it themselves. (If you haven’t read my book yet, I’d be silly not to give it a plug too: Systematize It Now!: The Art of Taking Back Your Life & Your Business Or Professional Practice – With Less Stress and More Profits!)
Final Thoughts …
A lot of businesses have already failed … many more will fail before this pandemic ends. Arm yourself with the tools you need to help the survivors thrive (and possibly help some survive).
Position yourself as a go-to expert to help the next generation of entrepreneurs who will rise to fill gaps in the market when all this is over!
About Ben J Pritchett
Ben J Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15 and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.