Today’s podcast is a little different. I’m sharing the audio from a Daily Dose of OPTIMISM! that I recorded with Guy Kawasaki on LinkedIn Live. Be sure to follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn for resources to help guide you as we face this pandemic together!
In today’s conversation with Guy Kawasaki, entrepreneur, author of 15 books, marketing expert, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist—we discuss some of the tactical ways that entrepreneurs and CEOs can navigate leadership during the uncertainties of the pandemic. This includes shifting business models, trying new things, and most importantly, simplifying processes for both your customers and employees.
Guy, who was a part of Apple’s original Macintosh team in the 1980s, is widely respected as a source of wisdom about entrepreneurship and business evangelism, so I’m sure you’ll get value out of insights from our conversation. Below, you’ll find some great insights that Guy shares in the interview.
Watch the interview here:
Seven Tips To Help Your Business Stay Afloat During Uncertainty
1. Prepare to Run the Right Race
“This is not a sprint. This is a marathon. It’s not going to be a 100-yard dash, it’s going to be months and months, and maybe even years and years before we see the light at the end of this tunnel. So prepare yourself mentally to run a long time. It might not even be a marathon, it might be a decathlon because you’re actually doing a few different things.”
2. Turn Inventory into Cash
“Cash is king. Are you turning your inventory into cash? When we get to the end of this path, or whenever we get to this point where we kind of normalized again, the test will be if you survived as a business. That’s not whether you preserve your branding and positioning.
If I were a small consumer goods company and I had inventory, I would be selling it at 50% off because I want cash. You cannot pay your bills with inventory. Now, during other times you would say, well, you’re going to give your brand a bad reputation because you’re discounting; it looks like you’re desperate and the loser. Well, I’ll tell you something, I would rather turn too much inventory into cash and face some of those potential negative connotations, then die.”
3. Do Business Direct
“If you’re a small consumer goods manufacturer and Amazon doesn’t consider your product essential, you know you’re kind of at the bottom of the barrel the Amazon priority for shipment, that’s not a good place to be. So, you know, you can’t depend necessarily on your resellers. I don’t think you can rely on a multiple tier distribution channel philosophy anymore. You have got to go direct. You should tap your installed base. Because, if you can’t sell to your installed customer base, you might as well pack it in. I mean, who should be an easier sale than someone you’ve sold to before?”
4. Don’t Depend on White Knights and Silver Bullets
“I don’t know what percentage of people who applied for the PPP got the PPP, right? But it ain’t 100%. My experience in my career is that the strategy that, ‘then the miracle will occur’ is a poor strategy. Rely on yourself. Yeah, anything that comes is a nice surprise, but if you count on it, you’re kind of putting yourself behind the eight ball in the first place.”
5. Be Transparent with Your Employees
“You know, telling your employees, listen, this is how it is. I need you to make sacrifices. I need you to go on furloughs. You know, you’re asking for sacrifices. You should also compensate them; offer stock options if you can.”
6. Do the Stuff That You Never Had Time to Do
“We are getting some time back because we’re not commuting, so some of us are getting two hours a day back. So now is the time to do all the crap that you never had time to do before such as I don’t know, getting your hard disk in order or using a password manager. How about yourself, your health? Learn new skills; I think it’s pretty safe to say that being good on video, you know in video conferencing is going to be a skill for the future.”
7. Figure Out How to Adapt
“Now I ask, ‘and therefore what?’ Take your insight, your expertise in a market in a customer segment, and ask the question, ‘based on what I see, therefore, what is the new product or the new service that this is going to be?’
And you’ve got to do something different and just take that all the way down the line. If you own the restaurant, you have to figure out, wow, you know, maybe no more brick and mortar and we’re a street food truck. Now, I mean, I don’t know every industry to give you this advice, but you also just ask yourself, see what I’m seeing? Therefore, what?”
Take your insight, your expertise in a market in a customer segment, and ask the question, based on what I see, therefore, what is the new product or the new service that this is going to be? - @GuyKawasaki Click To Tweet
Lastly, here’s a positive word of advice from Guy:
“I hope people in still believe in the American dream of working hard and doing well that we have an open and free society that you know, maybe I’m just being a dreamer.”
About Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva and the creator of the Remarkable People podcast. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley), and an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales. He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation.
He is also the author of Wise Guy, The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and eleven other books. Guy Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University, an MBA from UCLA, and an honorary doctorate from Babson College.
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