Jack Miller talks about surviving a down term. How he survived numerous downturns and reinvested the company. What he learned along the way.

“Well, this is Jack Miller. I hope this finds you well. I’m making this—what’s today’s date? 4/15—where I don’t say in the middle or somewhere in the coronavirus stage. And I’m really making this because a lot of people are very nervous and in panic mode, and are just, frankly, they don’t know how to deal with this situation or how to survive a downturn. I’ve been in business my whole life, for probably 35-40 years. I’m 57. I’ve pretty much always been self-employed. I started this company 32 years ago, and the reality is things have never been easy for me. I’ve survived and have had to reinvent myself and reinvent the business numerous times. I’ve experienced numerous downtimes. Some have been major like this one. The global economic recession from 2006 to 2011 was terrible. But I feel like making this video to tell you what I’ve learned on how to survive a downturn because there are a lot of things, a couple of things that can make the difference. So, a couple of things, I’m just gonna shoot them off, and again, I just want to see if I can give support to be, because I know how scary these times are.
So, a few things that I’ve learned and have been in place during from me on the downtime. First of all, you have to realize that everything changes. You have to accept that the world changes and what you know is this today and is the same will not be. Everything changes in life. You might as well embrace it because you can’t control it. You can’t control economic or these tidal waves or this virus, but you have to change with the times. A lot of people are scared to change, but that means reinventing yourself, looking at the business, and embracing it in a way. You can’t flee because if you find it, it’s going to overtake you. So, you might as well embrace change and operate in such a way to change for the times, change for the future. Don’t operate in the past because what we know, frankly, four or six or eight ago is different than it’s going to be for the next year or two or for the foreseeable future. And we can’t predict change, but we know life is full of change. So, my number one rule is accepting and embrace change and accept that things are going to be different. Every business is different, and you have to look at your business in your situation and analyze what does that mean? How do you change your business for these new times or in, don’t what is yesterday is off the table? Focus on what is now and how you reinvent yourself and reinvent your business.
I’ll tell you, someone was in my office about eight weeks ago, and in my business, really, almost no one has been in the business for as long as we have. We’re really survivors. I had joking around, I said, “Wounded warriors, we’re not just survivors, but we’ve been wounded, and I’ve been wounded on the battlefield. So, I’m a wounded warrior to change in business. I wish it wouldn’t be, but it’s a reality.” And I said to the mission, “I’m a,” what they said with marble, “Wow, you’ve been doing the same thing for 31 years.” Yeah, you could say that. It’s true, but the truth is we’ve had to drastically reinvent ourselves every five years, seven years, three years, four years, but every period of time. So, I can look back and say we have been in business for 31 years, but the truth is it’s fundamentally different than it was five years ago in the previous period before that. So, my number one rule is embracing change, accept that things will be different. The other thing is you have to have an open mind. Don’t look at things as how they were. You have to start reinventing yourself. Use this as an opportunity to make a list of all what you want and all what you need to do and embrace that. Reinvent yourself, reinvent the business that the business that you want to be. Use this time as a reset button. You don’t have a choice. It resets either way but use this time as a reset button that you could reset the business. Do you need this product line profitable? Is this person profitable? Do you need these expenses? What do you need? What don’t you need? And use it as a reset button and have an open mind where everything’s on the table. Nothing sought the table, literally. I’m big on, make a list of all your capabilities and what you want, try to form your new business going forward. Whether we accept it or not, every business is going to dramatically reinvent themselves right now. There’s no choice. There’s almost no business that’s going to stay the same. So again, have an open mind and do your business on that plan. Come up with the game plan on what you want it to be and what you think will be profitable in this business.
The other thing is, and this is a big one. This should be the number one. Cut all non-essentials cost. Best you need to look at your P&L, look at how you’re operating. Now is not the time to be a nice guy. You need to be selfish to the business. You need to look at every expense, every person, every penny going out, and with vigilance, you need to say, “Is this vital to my business today? Is this critical? What will happen if I get rid of this expense to the business today?” That’s all because the truth is now’s not the time to be good-hearted and to spend money. You need to use this time and to cut and cut deeply. I’ll tell you, I’ve been through again, I said several downtimes and several times when we had to cut expenses and closed offices. That’s when you needed offices and needed a lot of people. But the one time I did was in 2006 to 2008. I didn’t expect it to be as long and as deep as it was, and it was a big mistake. So, I learned from it. Keep your expenses low. Keep your overhead low. Now you have to invest in marketing. You have to invest in the future, but there’s a lot of difference between needs and wants. So, cut deep. Reinvent yourself in the business. Invest only in what makes money and what’s profitable today. A company grows as fast as its cash flows, so you need to keep the cash coming in, whatever that takes. Again, my advice to you would be cut expenses quickly, cut them deep. Rather cut too much and cut too little. Unfortunately, it’s um when operate this world. It’s a war out there, and it’s a war when you’re self-employed. And you have to have the inner makings to have it. Some people do, some people don’t. I don’t know what to say, but you have to get that strength. So again, I want to give you a little encouragement. I’ve been able to reinvent myself numerous times. There’s no doubt that every time it’s made me stronger. It’s made the company stronger. I’ll do it again, but you have to do it, to embrace change, accept things will be different. Reinvent yourself. Use this as a restart program and use it as an opportunity to change for the better. Don’t be stuck in the past but look toward the future because the past is over. It doesn’t matter. All bets are off. So, that’s what I got today. I hope you are healthy. I hope you’re safe. Be mentally strong. Be fierce. Be tough, and God bless you. I’m here for you if I can help in any way. Take care and have a wonderful day. And again, we’re all dealt with situations. We have zero control or almost zero control of what’s thrown upon us, but we have tremendous control of how we react to it and what we make up. So, make the best of it, flip it around, and turn it into a positive for you, your business, your family. Take care and have a great day.”

Category: Education

Tag: pro tip

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