Randal D. Pinkett and Lawrence M. Hibbert watched their educational training firm MBS Educational Services and Training succumb to the 2001 recession but they regrouped to form BCT Partners, a management, policy, and technology consulting firm that made nearly $2 million in 2008. Hereâs what Pinkett and Hibbert learned about surviving a crisis:
Learn to live lean. To survive a business crisis, you may have to sacrifice personal comforts. When BCT Partners was searching for initial clients in 2002 and 2003, Hibbert recalls seeing colleagues making six-figures and driving luxury cars âwhile we were all pushing a Honda Civic or whatever we could get around in. If you canât manage a tight budget, you wonât survive the ups and downs of a business,â says Hibbert.
Diversify your business model. In retrospect, Pinkett says one of the mistakes MBS made was depending so heavily on the âin-person training modelâ rather than exploring other ways of doing business such as online learning. âItâs like the classic story of 8a companies that live off of 8a contracts and then they die when they lose their 8a status,â he says. âDonât put all of your eggs in one basket.â
Build a strong team. âThereâs strength in numbers,â Pinkett says. For every story of entrepreneurial success, none did it alone. âOprah had Jeff Jacobs; Bill Gates had Paul Allen.â
Be willing to change. In order for BCT to emerge, Pinkett and Hibbert had to let go of their earlier vision for the company. âYou canât be so into your business that youâre not able to look at it honestly and assess what youâre doing good and what you need help with,â says Hibbert.
Commit to a course of action. When you know you must make a change, do your research, but at some point, commit to the new idea and take action. âWeâve seen some companies that have seemed to languish in the change because theyâre unwilling to step forward and make a decision and go with it,â Hibbert says. âProcrastination can hurt you more.â