Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix, Adapting to Endure & 10 rules to survive an economic downturn
22 January 2023 Newsletter
“In the short term, you are as good as your intensity, in the long term you are only as good as your consistency” – Shane Parrish
Hope you’re Thriving!
I hope your New Year is off to a good start.
Over the holiday season, I’ve collected some of my favourite articles and podcasts from the year to share with you. Kind of like a best-of from 2022.
Couple this with my recommended reading list and hopefully, there is something of real interest and value for you each week.
I’m keeping them short and sharp.
Enjoy your holidays, stay safe, and I hope you enjoy them.
Movie for entrepreneurs
This week I found a list of movies that all entrepreneurs should watch. And the likely suspects were all there that we’ve all probably watched. But, there was one I hadn’t heard of before. It was brilliant.
Here’s the synopsis:
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a 2011 Japanese-language American documentary film directed by David Gelb.
The film follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, previously a Michelin three-star restaurant. Sukiyabashi Jiro is a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station.
As of 2014, Jiro Ono serves a tasting menu of roughly 20 courses, for a minimum of US$270.The film also profiles Jiro’s two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs. The younger son, Takashi, left Sukiyabashi Jiro to open a mirror image of his father’s restaurant in Roppongi Hills.
The 50-year-old elder son, Yoshikazu, obliged to succeed his father, still works for Jiro and is faced with the prospect of one day taking over the flagship restaurant.”
If you find any inspiration from building an enduring great company, from building a small giant, from mastery, then you well might love this 1-hour 22-minute movie. Yes, it has Japanese subtitles, but it is excellent.
Here’s my favourite quote:
“Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honourably.”
You can watch the movie here on YouTube: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Adapting to Endure
Every week, I host a podcast where we start by saying, “ Everything we talk about is building enduring, great companies”.
With the current volatility, from interest rates, inflation, staff shortages, stock market and valuation crashes, there’s a good chance that not every company will endure.
I came across an excellent presentation from Sequoia Capital about the current economic climate and how it is currently affecting businesses and might well into the future. It’s not all about growth anymore. Investors favour near-term certainty to potential growth, and focus is shifting to companies with profitability and positive cash flows, which translates into meaningful value appreciation.
Here’s a great takeaway from the presentation about strategies for uncertain times.
Strategies for Uncertain Times
• Simplicity scales, complexity doesn’t
• Speed – one of the greatest business strategy
• Double down on your top talent
• Seek alignment, not agreement
• Tighten up value proposition/solve real problems
Three reasons why people buy regardless of market conditions (enterprise POV):
1. Drive growth
2. Save money (real, hard ROI)
3. Reduce risk
Everything else is fluffy.
Also, opportunities abound in downturns; I loved this quote from the presentation.
“You cannot overtake 15 cars in sunny weather… but you can when it’s raining.” – Ayrton Senna.
Read the presentation here: Adapting to Endure
10 rules to survive an economic downturn
This week I came across a letter from Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm, entitled “Economic Downturn.”
In it, they list the ten things to consider for companies they invest in, during an economic downturn, based on the current state of the tech markets.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
Greetings YC Founders,
During this week, we’ve done office hours with a large number of YC companies. They reached out to ask whether they should change their plans around spending, runway, hiring, and funding rounds based on the current state of public markets. We’ve told them that economic downturns often become huge opportunities for the founders who quickly change their mindset, plan ahead, and make sure their company survives.
Here are some thoughts to consider when making your plans:
1. No one can predict how bad the economy will get, but things don’t look good.
2. The safe move is to plan for the worst. If the current situation is as bad as the last two economic downturns, the best way to prepare is to cut costs and extend your runway within the next 30 days. Your goal should be to get to Default Alive.
3. If you don’t have the runway to reach default alive and your existing investors or new investors are willing to give you more money right now (even on the same terms as your last round), you should strongly consider taking it.
4. Regardless of your ability to fundraise, it’s your responsibility to ensure your company will survive if you cannot raise money for the next 24 months.
5. Understand that the poor public market performance of tech companies significantly impacts VC investing. VCs will have a much harder time raising money, and their LPs will expect more investment discipline.
As a result, during economic downturns, even the top tier VC funds with a lot of money slow down their deployment of capital (lesser funds often stop investing or die). This causes less competition between funds for deals which results in lower valuations, lower round sizes, and many fewer deals completed. In these situations, investors also reserve more capital to backstop their best-performing companies, which further reduces the number of new financings. This slowdown will disproportionately impact international companies, asset heavy companies, low margin companies, hardtech, and other companies with high burn and a long time to revenue. Note that the numbers of meetings investors take don’t decrease in proportion to the reduction in total investment. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking a fund is actively investing when it is not.
6. For those of you who have started your company within the last five years, question what you believe to be the normal fundraising environment. Your fundraising experience was most likely not normal, and future fundraises will be much more difficult.
7. If you are post-Series A and pre-product market fit, don’t expect another round to happen at all until you have obviously hit product market fit. If you are pre-series A, the Series A Milestones we publish here might even turn out to be a bit too low.
8. If your plan is to raise money in the next 6-12 months, you might be raising at the peak of the downturn.
9. Remember that your chances of success are extremely low even if your company is doing well. We recommend you change your plan.
Remember that many of your competitors will not plan well, maintain high burn, and only figure out they are screwed when they try to raise their next round. You can often pick up significant market share in an economic downturn by just staying alive.
10. For more thoughts, watch this video we’ve created: Save Your Startup during an Economic Downturn.
And that 35-minute video, with the link at point number 10, is brilliant.
While focused on startups, it has relevant items for every leader, especially if there’s a chance an economic downturn might impact you.
This week on The Growth Whisperers Podcast
145 Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix
Are you struggling to prioritise tasks and maximise your productivity?
The Time Management Matrix, created by Stephen Covey, could be the solution you’ve been looking for. In this podcast, we’ll teach you how to effectively use the matrix to set goals and achieve success in both your personal and professional life. Through real-life examples, you’ll learn how to manage your time in each of the matrix’s four quadrants.
We all have limited time and exactly 24 hours in a day, and yet, some people accomplish more at work and can also have more of a life that they love…. While others may work just as many hours, want the same thing and come up short.
If you want to increase your productivity and better manage your time, this podcast is a must-listen. Don’t miss out on these valuable time management tips and techniques.
Episode 145 – The Growth Whisperers
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
Or watch it on YouTube
Onboarded: Fast Track New Hires to Success – Live Virtual Masterclass with The Growth Faculty – 22 February 2023
In partnership with Growth Faculty, we are pleased to offer you 25% discount for Onboarded: Fast Track New Hires To Success – Live Virtual Masterclass with Brad Giles.
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