Thinking positively, acting realistically important for moving through pandemic

Thinking positively, acting realistically important for moving through pandemic

By Shawn Hendricks
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted business leaders across the country in unprecedented ways, but the crisis is going to make them stronger, according to finance expert and radio host Dave Ramsey.

Ramsey and fellow financial commentators Daniel Tardy and Ken Coleman recently offered economic tips and encouragement specifically to small business leaders struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis that has forced many into quarantine.

For small business leaders, Ramsey said in his radio show, “the great news is you will never again return to the same shape you were before because you’re going to be bigger, think bigger and be better than you’ve ever been.”

‘Learn to love’

“You’re going to learn how to love your people deeper than you ever have,” said Ramsey, CEO of Ramsey Solutions and author of “Financial Peace University.”

“You’re going to learn how to fight more than you ever fought. You’re going to learn how to scratch and pivot and take something to the market quickly and easily from work-at-home people,” he said.

Tardy, who is executive vice president of business and leadership for Ramsey Solutions, acknowledged that may not mean much right now to small business leaders who are going out of business or having to lay off employees.

Some leaders, he said, may be thinking, “that’s great for all of the people whose businesses are going to survive this, [but] we’re having to shut this thing down.”

For those leaders, Tardy acknowledged it will take time, but they’ll eventually rebound after this difficult season.

Your purpose

“Here’s the thing, you might lose your business. You might lose some team members,” he said. “Your business might look very different on the other side of this, but you’re still going to be here. And you’re going to figure out how to relaunch, how to rebuild, how to come back stronger.”

“Your purpose is who you are and what God put you on this planet to do,” Tardy noted. “Your platform has been shaken, but just like when a tornado comes through a city and knocks down houses, the city doesn’t go, ‘Well let’s stop putting houses back there.’ You’re going to come back.”

Ken Coleman, best-selling author and radio host of the Ken Coleman Show, which is part of the Ramsey Network, said the best way for leaders to combat this complicated crisis is to identify what they can and can’t control.

“The best way to solve complexity is with simplicity,” he said. “And it looks really gnarly, but you’ve got to put everything out on the white board and everything on the tables and say, ‘What can I control?’”

This means they must look at the most urgent decisions to protect their business — and that includes making “gut-wrenching” decisions about their team. He also cautioned business leaders against making decisions that could later hurt their business.

While having to lay off team members is “the hardest part of leadership,” Coleman said, “don’t get sucked into the temptation of taking a loan that could hurt you long term and actually threaten the business viability long term.”

And that may mean “taking a hit to your heart by having to make some tough decisions about your people in order to put you in a position where you can reopen,” he said. “And I think that’s a really tough situation right now.”

Over-communication with your team is important, Ramsey noted.

‘Unbelievably generous’

“Treat them like adults,” he said. “They want to know the truth, everything that is going on … really what’s going on. They’re not children. You don’t have to hide news from them.”

And when you do this, he noted, you’ll be surprised at how “unbelievably generous they are if you over-communicate with them.

“The team will all jump in together and surprise you with their generosity for each other to get you through your cash crunch if you get to that point,” said Ramsey, who said some of his leaders have offered to skip a paycheck if necessary. “We are not to that point. But we’re already emotionally preparing everyone.”

Tardy added, “the team will act like family if you treat them like a family.”

Be there for customers

“And as a family, hey, we’re going to win together and we’re going to lose together,” he said. But leaders have to prioritize during tough economic times.

“You’ve got to be thinking about how I can keep revenue going,” he said. “That’s the oxygen to your business. How can I keep the team morale up? How can I communicate with the team, and how do we get through this with the entire team?”

This means thinking about your critical expenses and “tightening your belt” where you can, he said.

Business leaders should also focus on the needs of their customers and look for ways they can “show up” for them, build customer loyalty, adapt their product and find ways to add value to the situation now.

“How can you give them something that’s valuable?” Tardy said. “How can you encourage them?”

“And over the course of a year, there will be a point where that stuff will monetize,” he said. Focus on those things, and “you’re most likely going to get through this unscathed.”

Watch the full video on YouTube by clicking here.