Aaron Bare in Fast Co.: Preparing for ups and downs in the marketplace
15 Strategies to Prepare for the Ups and Downs in the Marketplace
June 7th, 2023 Featuring Aaron Bare
Hope for the best. Plan for disruption.
Life is full of uncertainties, and that includes an unpredictable business environment. What can leaders do to secure their company’s future and team stability during tough economic times? One solution is to prepare and plan ahead—based on the market trends—so your company and stakeholders will be ready and skilled to face the challenges that may come your way.
Here, Fast Company Executive Board members share their go-to methods that leaders can implement to effectively manage the risk and uncertainty in their day-to-day business operations.
1. ADAPT A THREE-PRONGED, ALL-SEASONS STRATEGY.
Implementing a three-pronged, all-seasons strategy to weather and excel in all market conditions is key. Here’s how a real estate company in our portfolio implements this: 1. provide day-to-day property management and rental service—typically stable and recession-proof; 2. provide renovation services for “normal” economic situations and steady cash flow; 3. provide brokerage—through buying or selling—to excel in good times. – Walid Al-Hajj,Technium Consulting Inc.
2. HIRE CROSS-FUNCTIONAL LEADERS TO REACH REVENUE GOALS.
Hiring cross-functional leaders who can drive revenue is essential in business. I also recommend that leaders implement data science to continuously shorten sales cycles. This keeps top-line growth stable. – Ben Sever, Phoenix Portfolio Partners
3. CONDUCT A FINANCIAL FORECAST.
New business is always an unknown. Years ago, I was introduced to a method to forecast our new biz pipeline with revenue and the percentage likely to close. The net sum was our projection. A simple and clean way to manage. – Gretchen Goffe, DTLiveLAB
4. CREATE A FLEXIBLE BUDGET PLAN.
Be flexible with your budget. While budgets are important, they should not be rigid and should allow for adjustments to be made as circumstances change. Leaders must be willing to deviate from the budget when necessary and make changes to their strategy based on the evolving business environment. – Steve Smith, Esker
5. UTILIZE ANALYSIS SOFTWARE TOOLS.
You’ll gain a clearer picture of your business performance and improve your risk management capabilities if you use financial analysis and forecasting software. This helps you to overcome any uncertainty in your business operations or the economy. Our agency uses this type of software for profit analysis, cash flow forecasting, overall financial analysis, and other insights. – Tom Shapiro,Stratabeat, Inc.
6. ASSESS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL AS POTENTIAL RISKS.
Leaders need to be constantly looking at opportunities but also risks at the same level and frequency. They need to know how to take advantage of tailwinds and how to mitigate risks at the same time. The constant review of these factors will allow leaders to effectively illuminate and execute improvements and identify areas to focus on before the business is impacted. – Daniel Brillman, Unite Us
7. PLAN AHEAD FOR DISRUPTION.
Realize that making no decision is a decision. The risk of doing nothing will certainly lead to being disrupted. So making decisions on the current variables, iterating, learning, and growing are keys to effectively managing any risk. Small bets add up to exponential gains. – Aaron Bare, Change Agents Academy
8. TRAIN YOUR TEAM PROPERLY TO HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET.
Understand how uncertainty affects not just the probability of an event (good or bad), but also the people who are navigating it. Uncertainty triggers unease, leading to potential anxiety as the stakes rise, which then seeds bad decisions. Don’t just focus on risk analysis, train your team in the mindset skills needed to thrive and decide in the face of unquantifiable risk and increasing stakes. –Jonathan Fields, Spark Endeavors | Good Life Project®
9. TAKE IT SLOW.
Start out slow. There will always be uncertainty, and the nature of entrepreneurship is taking risks; however, when implementing a new product or service, or when starting out or pivoting, it’s important not to take unnecessary risks. If you start out slow and remain open to making changes along the way, you can manage some of that risk. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
10. UPDATE AND PRIORITIZE YOUR LIST OF POTENTIAL RISKS REGULARLY.
As part of their discussion with their board, every business leader should regularly update the list of risks they could face and have a clear prioritization of them. Factoring in the appetite for risks that their shareholders are willing to take on to create value—and the ones they won’t—is crucial. Different scenarios and mitigation plans should be run and communicated to the entire business through a monitoring and alerting process. – Isabelle Guis, SendinBlue
11. MONITOR MARKET SHIFTS, NEW TECH, AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS.
Risk assessments and contingency planning should be routine for business leaders. By proactively planning for possible challenges, businesses can reduce the impact of unforeseen events and maintain business continuity. Leaders should regularly monitor market shifts, new tech, and other developments in their fields so that they can adapt properly. – Misty Larkins, Relevance
12. DIVERSIFY YOUR REVENUE STREAMS.
I think it’s important to mitigate risk by diversifying revenue streams. In my business, we create multiple products and offer supporting services. We also rely on partnerships and affiliate marketing as other sources of revenue. By spreading out revenue sources across multiple products, it’s possible to manage downturns and other risks. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
13. BUILD STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS WITH STAKEHOLDERS AND BE OPEN TO NEW IDEAS.
Business leaders can manage risk and uncertainty by adopting a proactive approach to risk management, regularly reviewing and updating strategies, staying attuned to market trends, and building strong relationships with stakeholders. Being open to new ideas and approaches and embracing innovation can also help leaders stay ahead of the curve. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
14. DEVELOP A MINDSET FOR CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING.
Humans tend to feel more comfortable in situations where they can predict outcomes with a high degree of confidence. However, in the world of business, uncertainty is inevitable. Embracing uncertainty and turning the mind toward creative problem-solving can help business leaders transform challenges into opportunities for innovation. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion
15. THINK ABOUT YOUR DECISIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION.
The most important way to manage risk and uncertainty is to understand which decisions are one-way doors—almost impossible to reverse—and obsess over those decisions above all others. – Karen Starns, OJO Canada
Aaron Bare is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Exponential Theory, Founder of the Change Agents Academy, and IAF Endorsed Facilitator.