I Survived Two “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Downturns. You Can Too.
Entrepreneurs and their employees are the lifeblood of the American economy. Small businesses create almost two-thirds of new jobs and represent the majority of existing jobs in the U.S. I feel a deep sense of empathy for the sleepless nights so many entrepreneurs are going through right now.
But, let’s recognize that the following start-ups were founded during the Great Recession 2008-2010: Airbnb, Uber, Slack, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Square and Venmo.
As the largest independent hotel operator in the San Francisco Bay Area when we went through the dot-com bust, 9/11, and SARS at the same time, I know what it’s like to see nearly a 50% reduction in hotel revenues during a multi-year downturn. And, then, just a few years later, we experienced the Great Recession. Hotels are the “canaries in the coal mine” as their revenues tend to get affected way before the rest of the economy can see the tsunami on the horizon. Sadly, today’s downturn is even worse.
Having experienced back-to-back downturns in the same decade, along with many years of seasoning, I can offer a few partial pearls of wisdom in the video at the end of this post dedicated to the entrepreneurs who are feeling a little “cyclical” to their stomach right now. Here’s a summary of the key lessons, but I think you’ll find a little more Chip-flavor by watching it.
- Leaders are the emotional thermostats of those they lead.
- You may have to occasionally choose between Culture and Cash Flow, but they’re not mutually-exclusive.
- Tap into my PEAK model based upon Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—Design a survival, succeed, transform pyramid for your employees, customers, and investors.
- Create a momentum of victory.
- Failure is an option. Don’t take it personally.