If there’s one big piece of advice that you will give to leaders, entrepreneurs, and managers who are out there struggling in this pandemic. And consider themselves that they’re actually in crisis. What would it be?
That one piece of advice would be to be ruthlessly creative. Stop thinking normal because we are living in abnormal times and if you are facing adversity, you’re facing a shutdown, a closure, or whatever, you have to be ruthlessly creative in establishing or getting whatever you want.
You have to be ruthlessly creative and that means negotiating to the very best. I am negotiating with everybody and I’m saying two things:
The first thing is it’s not that I don’t want to pay you, it’s that I can’t pay you yet. Either you have patience based on the past relationship that we’ve had as a business to business, that I’ve paid you on time and things like that. But if you just have a little more patience or we can cut it right now, and you can take me to court, which will take you about a year, two years.
That’s where you’re going to want to be ruthless, you know, once the pandemic’s over, then life will start going back to normal, but you’re going to have to make something right. To bounce back with.
So now’s the time to focus on all the skill sets that they don’t teach you and practice them.
So be ruthlessly creative and some of the entrepreneurs and leaders out there might have to negotiate ruthlessly, not just with vendors, but maybe with their own employees as well.
Absolutely. They have to. And it’s not something I know that, people are scared to say what I’m saying, because it doesn’t sound correct or proper, but you’re a businessman, it’s kill or be killed. You can only eat what you kill. It sounds nice to be called an entrepreneur, but it’s more relevant to be a businessman. Cause a businessman is actually doing the business. My son wanted to call himself an entrepreneur. I said you know what? That word doesn’t mean anything to me, it just means like it’s a serial figure and that’s fine.
But at some point, you have to go from an entrepreneur to an enterprise where there is an exchange of value with what you are creating or producing and where someone is consuming what you create or produce. And they’re prepared to give you value because what you give them is of value. So they give you money in return.
Be ambitious and stop being an entrepreneur and be an enterprise where there’s a transaction involved.
And then my thing with the people who are really struggling with business or things like that is stop calling up everybody, your banks, your electricity company, your water company. And you’ll actually be surprised at how lenient people are being at this moment.
The standard leniency at the moment for you to pay your bills is three months. All of these call centers already have it. They’re not going to say it to you because they don’t want just to make their own cashflow suffer, right? But if you provide a proper conversation or proper negotiation with them, they automatically are empowered to give you three months. Now two and a half months down the line, you can call them and say, “Hey, nothing’s improved. So I still need a little bit more time. Could you please give me a little more time?”
They will still say yes to me.
I told my landlord, I said, “You know what? If you increase the rent, A: nobody in their right mind is going to rent this place. Number two, I’m going to tell the media about it, that during the pandemic, during one of America’s worst crises, there was one landlord out there who wanted to increase the rent of these poor students”. I said imagine that name going down, they would just love that story. So he panicked.
So that’s where you ruthlessly negotiate.