Emerging Prepared with a Plan in a Post Pandemic Economy
It’s April 2020 and as I wake up and start my day, there is always the nagging questions lingering in my head. What the heck will my business look like in three month or even six months from now? Will I still have a business to run or will the way in which I earn a living cease to exist and will I end up doing something entirely different?
It’s hard to know what state my business will be in one month from now, let alone three months later. Unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball that will predict the future for me or anyone else I know for that matter.
One thing I do know for sure is that things will never be the way they were four months ago. If you’re one of those people waiting for the ‘old economy’ to return or bounce back, then you’re in for a rude awakening, because it’s not going to happen.
I’m guessing that most people don’t want to entertain the idea that they could be out of business in a matter of months. Heck, it’s not something that I wanted to think about either. To be put out of business because of an invisible predator that has spanned the globe and disrupted peoples’ lives and the global economy, just seems unfathomable.
As my husband and I watched what was going on within our own country and around the world and the impact it had on our businesses, we did a financial assessment of how long we could sustain our current standard of living. For some reason I felt okay knowing that we could get to a certain period within the year. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t allowing myself to think about what would happen if we did run out of savings.
My husband on the other hand had thought about it. Hearing him verbalize his ‘before we get to that point’ plan of action forced me to finally go to that place in my mind where I needed to have the internal conversation, ‘what would happen if I could no longer maintain my business?’
The AHA Moment
When I did finally ‘go there’, I had a major AHA moment. Suddenly I realized something that had never occurred to me before. The voice in my head said, “Pam, you’ve been here before!”
Oh my God, yes, that’s right-I have been here before. I have had to unexpectedly close a business due to circumstances beyond my control-an economic crisis.
It was 18 years ago. I had a women’s fashion retail store in a major mall in Singapore. The store was in operation for a good part of 3 years, and just one year at the mall premises. Business was good. That is until we got hit by the Asian Financial crisis of ’99.
My clientele tended to be expat women along with residents and tourists. As we moved through the year 2000, we witnessed the decline in the daily number of shoppers. People began to hang onto their moneydue to the uncertainties that lay ahead. Much like what we are experiencing today.
Eventually it reached a point where there wasn’t enough business to cover the monthly overheads and the tough decision was made to close the store. Yet it wasn’t as simple as just closing the doors. While the landlords could see for themselves that there was no foot traffic for all tenants, they still demanded to receive payment for the remaining months on the lease. Thatresulted in a painfully written $40,000 cheque to the landlord. Making that payment just added insult to what was already a very difficult moment of having to close due to an economic crisis.
When the premises were vacant and the doors shuttered, I allowed myself to have a private pity party. I gave myself permission to feel sorry for myself for two weeks. When the pity party was over, I knew it was time to get up off the ground and get busy contemplating what the next plan of action would be.