How To Save Your Business From Near Disaster In A Down Market

I pulled this clip because after you watch it, when your business runs into trouble, I hope you’ll recall what you learned from this video and use it to get back on your feet and into the ring. In this clip, Verne Harnish opened up his dark days in business, how he snapped back, and how you can too.

Verne Harnish

Verne Harnish

Gazelles, Inc.

Verne is CEO of Gazelles, Inc., Founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast Growth Firm. He’s also the author of these business articles, which we talked about in the program.

The excerpt:

I almost lost my company in 2001. Right post 9/11, I lost about $1 million in 8 weeks.

At the time, I went from $1/2 million to $2 million to $4 million. I’m burning cash like mad, because growth typically sucks cash. I came within days of literally losing everything.

I was massively depressed and I didn’t want to get out of bed. And I didn’t want to face the creditors. And I had to let most of my people go. Right around Thanksgiving, in fact. I just thought that this way they would have time off during the holidays. You do weird stuff in your head when this is happening.

I had a mentor who’s still my coach today, Arthur Lipper, who said, “You’ve got to get your butt out of bed.”

The most important thing you have to do whenever you get in trouble–not if, but when–is go out and talk to every customer you can. They’re actually your friends. And you gotta go lay it on the line and say, “What do I need to do?”

They’re going to give you the answer.

So a couple of things about mindset. First, looking at the recession, right now we’re talking about the economy shrinking like 5% or 6%. That still means that the cup is 95% full.

Instead of a $14 trillion economy in the US, it’s $13.8 trillion or something like that. That is a lot of revenue that we can still go after, in terms of piecing together a $5 or $10 or even $100 million dollar business.

So first, someone’s going to get that business, and it might as well be you.

Number 2, and I wish I could take credit for this, but I just heard an amazing speaker in Malaysia, where we just hosted our Growth Summit a couple of weeks ago. George Kohlrieser, who’s one of the leading hostage negotiators, said you have to decide, are you really in this economy playing not to lose? Or are you hear playing to win?

It’s so easy to get that defensive mindset where I just want to protect what I already have, including the things I’m doing that are unprofitable, the customers I’m serving that are wasting a lot of time.

Instead, you’ve got to decide, that this is probably, the single Black Swan moment–if we’re to borrow Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s term–the single moment in history that any of us will experience in our lifetimes, where we have a 6 to 18 month window to just go grab massive amounts of market-share around the planet. While our competitors are weak, while they’re scared and are of a mindset to protect their turf, versus playing to win at this moment.

The full program includes:

  • Business lesson from John D Rockefeller
  • How to get people to say “yes”
  • The mindset that will help you recover from setbacks
  • Andrew being excessively nervous about doing a good interview

[Thank you Ryan Martens for inspiring this program!]

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