As a business owner, this is my fourth recession. With three under my belt and one in progress, I consider myself an accomplished recession veteran. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes feel uncertainly or fear. I am human. It does mean as I navigated each recession, I learned valuable lessons. I hope these lessons will help you survive the COVID 19 recession so that you may thrive when it is over.

Tip #1

When things are shaky, focus on the bot­tom rungs of the pros­per­i­ty ladder.

Busi­ness con­trac­tions, espe­cial­ly those that come on as sud­den­ly as the COVID 19 busi­ness con­trac­tion has, can feel like the ground is shift­ing under your feet. It makes sense. The world is indeed shift­ing. Change is everywhere.

To com­pen­sate, place your atten­tion on the bot­tom rung of the pros­per­i­ty lad­der, data. Know­ing clear­ly and with­out con­fu­sion where you are finan­cial­ly, helps ground you and put you back on sol­id ground. Even when the data isn’t pret­ty. Good data beats no data or too lit­tle data. Know­ing is always bet­ter than not know­ing. Once you know you can prepare.

Place your atten­tion to the next rung on the pros­per­i­ty lad­der once the low­er one is handled.

Step 1. Devel­op reg­u­lar, accu­rate data you can rely upon

Step 2. Week­ly, review your cash head­room report and re fore­cast cash flow

Step 3. Man­age your net income percentage

Step 4. Get clear on your per­son­al lifestyle and busi­ness goals

To keep your head lev­el and to stay ful­ly informed, start each week by review­ing your cash head­room and cash fore­cast. If you can’t see a three to four-month run­way of cash, put all your efforts into solv­ing this dilem­ma. Once cash is han­dled, put it aside and focus on the rest of your business.

Tip #2

Focus on what you can control.

In each reces­sion­ary cycle, clients call me to say, “This time is dif­fer­ent.” “Things will nev­er be the same again.” And sim­i­lar dooms day pre­dic­tions. My response is always, maybe. No one knows the future. Even the best econ­o­mists, the best futur­ist, have their best guess­es, but lit­tle or no cer­tain­ty about when their pre­dic­tions will come to pass.

Rather than waste your pre­cious time and ener­gy, focus on what you can con­trol. Let go of what you can­not con­trol. This basic pre­scrip­tion of focus­ing on what you can con­trol is a recipe for peace in any envi­ron­ment. Focus­ing on what you can­not con­trol is like­ly to lead you down a path you will come to regret.

“Wher­ev­er atten­tion goes, ener­gy flows.” — David Daniels

Every down­turn includes oppor­tu­ni­ty points. Here are a few examples.

·      As unem­ploy­ment ris­es, you tal­ent options increase. Use this time to hire more A team mem­bers and offload some C team members.

·      Inter­est rates may drop giv­ing you the abil­i­ty to lock in low rates for years to come.

·      Use your down time for all the things you’ve put off, like upgrad­ing your mar­ket­ing plan, updat­ing your strate­gic plan, review­ing your HR plan and policies

·      Get lean. It is easy to get fat and spend mon­ey on non essen­tials when times are good. Reces­sions invite us to bring our atten­tion to what is real­ly crit­i­cal and impor­tant in our spending.

Tip #3

Keep things in perspective

When fear is win­ning, stop and ask, has this event changed by three year plan? my five year plan? my ten year plan?

This one set of ques­tions can keep you sane. Rarely is the answer yes. In which case you have to ask your­self, why am I sweat­ing this?

This ques­tion assumes you have a three, five and ten year busi­ness plan as well as a three, five and ten year per­son­al finan­cial plan.

The naysay­ers tout that plan­ning is futile. Noth­ing ever turns out just like you plan. Yes, how very true. At the same time this truth in no way belit­tles the val­ue of plan­ning. Busi­ness or per­son­al finan­cial plan­ning includes stress test­ing and plan­ning for good and bad times. Hav­ing a plan gives you a heads up when things go unex­pect­ed­ly side­ways or down, because you have already thought about it.

Plan for the best and pre­pare for the worst. Always have a min­i­mum of three to six months of cash on hand. Always keep an unused line of cred­it. Keep­ing an open line might cost you a small fee each year at renew­al, but your line of cred­it can become a life line when things go sour. Keep your bal­ance sheet strong and your debt to equi­ty in line or below your industry.

If you like this arti­cle and you’d like to keep learn­ing about best finan­cial prac­tices, my new book, The Pros­per­i­ty Play­book, is com­ing out April 21. Click here to buy the Kin­dle ver­sion in advance of its offi­cial release.

Be well and prosper,


Reach me at or 859–331-7755 ext 103