America has been experiencing “the good old days” for three-plus years now. Companies have been succeeding. Jobs have been plentiful. Consumers have felt good about their future and about spending their money.
The current hiccup (and I use that word intentionally) has created challenging business conditions for many. Lots of struggling going on. Not all companies will make it out of this alive. This is a purge of sorts. Occasional purges happen, and we don’t have to rewind the video too far to find them. Dot com bust, 1999. September 11, 2001. Financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008 – 2010. Now the pandemic of 2020. These purges have many consequences. From a Darwinist perspective, it becomes business survival of the fittest. Poor business models fail. Good business models with bad leadership fail. Supply and demand factors shift.
How do you increase your chances of success in times like these? In a word, fundamentals. In two words, fundamentals and focus. In three words, fundamentals, focus and massive effort.
How are your fundamentals right now? Are you practicing them? I know, I know…fundamentals are boring. They’re not sexy. But they are a life preserver in challenging times.
What are the fundamentals of your business? Of your job? You should know and know specifically. Every activity has fundamentals. Henry Ford said that, “Nothing is hard if you break it down into small jobs.” Take what you do and break it down into small jobs. That’s how you find the fundamentals. Master the small jobs inside the big job. If you’re in sales the fundamentals include data management, prospecting, executing live sales situations, negotiating and closing. Focus on each. Practice. Execute with intention. Assess your results. Modify as appropriate. And do this over, and over and over again.
When times get tough, weak performers run from the fundamentals, instead of embracing them. They squeeze the bat too tight; they swing wildly for home runs instead of swinging to make contact with the ball and put it in play.
Take a deep breath. Step back. Break things down. You can do this.