Recovering From The Trauma of 2021

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2021

If you’re like most business owners, 2019 may have been one of your best years ever. And the first quarter of 2020 was also trending up.

Then...bang!

A superbug started terrorizing the world. Professional basketball was cancelled. One by one, the world began to close its doors.

A significant blow impacted your business - lockdowns, employee fear, customer fear, ever-changing government-imposed restrictions, social upheaval, political controversy and unprecedented supply chain disruptions affected most businesses in one way or another over the year. Perhaps you’ve stabilized your company, or you might still be experiencing the worst of it.

Either way, you’re probably a different person as a result of this pandemic.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing a terrifying event. Although not at the level of enduring an actual war zone, the events of 2020 may leave you feeling similar symptoms.

Now, as things begin to slowly reopen, you may notice a change in your outlook. See, although bullets may not be flying,  we're in a war. And wars are traumatic. The Mayo Clinic reports four symptoms of PTSD:

  1. Intrusive memories: recurrent, unwanted thoughts
  2. Avoidance: trying not to think about the trauma, difficulty accepting what happened
  3. Negative changes in thinking and mood: destructive thoughts about yourself and other people
  4. Change in physical and emotional reactions: withdrawal, being easily angered, frightened, overwhelming guilt, or perhaps substance abuse


Any of those sound familiar personally or in your family? How about for your employees, vendors or customers?
If so, you may be experiencing the psychological toll a catastrophic event can have on your psyche. There are three constructive things you can do now.

Option #1: Talk to Someone

Soldiers deal with PTSD by talking to a psychotherapist. Speaking to an experienced advisor about how this pandemic has impacted your business can be therapeutic, and after weathering multiple storms over the last 30 years, we’re here to help.

Option #2: Rebuild a More Durable Business

Another constructive reaction to this crisis is to commit to building a more durable business that can better withstand shocks to the system in the future.

Option #3: Sell

Many owners--especially those that experienced the brunt of the 2008–09 global financial crisis--have been so traumatized by this pandemic that they don’t have the stomach for another disaster. As a result, they’ve decided to start planning their exit proactively.

If you find yourself choosing option 2 or 3, your immediate action plan will be the same. There are some things you can do now that will make your business more durable in the long term as well as more sellable:

  1. Focus on your products and services where you have a point of differentiation. You’ll have more pricing authority in the short term, have better cash flow, and be more attractive to an acquirer in the long run.
  2. Create recurring revenue streams that generate sales while you sleep. These can be in the form of service contracts, subscriptions, or maintenance plans. Aim to get the majority of your revenue automatically.
  3. De-risk your business, ensuring you’re not too reliant on a single customer or supplier.
  4. Create an employee handbook and systematize your processes to lessen your dependence on a key employee (or you calling all of the shots).
  5. Clean up your bookkeeping.
  6. Generate as much cash as possible from customers up front to create a positive cash flow cycle.


If you’re like a lot of the owners we work with, your business is part of who you are. When that gets threatened, it’s natural to feel traumatized, or at least shaken and a bit ungrounded. If you can redirect that energy into building a more durable business, you may never have to experience something like this again. Contact us for constructive ideas, tools and support. 

Regardless of whether you plan to prepare for an exit, or to build your business for the future, another powerful tool that can really help is our free Value Builder Assessment. Just click the button below. It's fast, easy and yields important insights. 

                                              Take The Value Builder Assessment

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