In a recent interview before their playoff game with the Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was adamant about what it would it take to beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. He stated:
“Don’t blink. If you’re a blinker, cut your eyelids off. This is not gonna be for the faint of heart. We understand what type of game we’re in. It’s gonna take a ridiculous effort and 60 minutes of it. And we’re excited about it.”
As a Chiefs fan, I’m happy that the Chiefs won the game very handily, but the main point is this. Aren’t you and I in the same position in our respective industries? We cannot afford to blink today, can we?
If you are running a dairy operation, your feed costs are higher at present. If you are a grower who is selling these higher priced feeds, your year may seem “easier,” but you have to be thinking way ahead about upcoming taxes and other challenges. All businesses today are being slammed with higher costs, simply due to inflation and the recent supply chain challenges. My goodness. It practically costs $200 just to have someone look at a simple repair anymore, that is if you can find someone to look at your necessary repair(s)…
If you are buying or selling assets, decide what you want to pay or are willing to take, in the case of a potential sale, and then don’t look back. Don’t blink!
If you are negotiating with a bank, never blink. Instead, have a well laid out plan, know your pluses & minuses (what’s fairly sure & what’s uncertain), and then act accordingly to implement your plan. If I ever blinked with a bank, I’d never be able to complete “business turnarounds” successfully. I can think of two specific cases in the last three years where the bankers were insistent that my Clients should start selling assets. I totally disagreed.
In both cases, I was proven correct over time. Did it happen overnight? No. However, it did not take long before my projections came to fruition. Yet, I had to hold the course, just like Gimli in the Lord of the Rings movies, who said, “Certainty of death, small chance of success. What are we waiting for?” There was no “blinking” allowed.
In both cases, these Clients are now well positioned for added success. Yes, they had “dug a financial hole,” but they were also very willing to change course. Of course, the best way to get out of any hole is to stop digging! To their credit, these operations are now both on track with sound cash flows, rising prices they are receiving, outstanding productivity and finally some diversification plans in place. They have a bright future.
So, think about the question above: Are you prepared to not blink?
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