Four tips for leading your business through tough times

When things get tough – whether its natural disasters, personal challenges or unique situations like a global pandemic – leaders have to step up in different ways.

Marsha Friedman, an entrepreneur and founder and president of public relations firm News and Experts, suggests that aside from business savvy and financial expertise, other traits come into play when dealing with crises that may be just as essential

“One of those traits is courage,” says Friedman. “Thirty years ago when I started my company, I probably would never have said it takes courage to lead a small business, but without it, I assure you, you’ll fail.”

Friedman, who is also the author of “Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage,” endured tough economic times after the 9/11 attacks. Revenue dropped and bankruptcy loomed as a real possibility.

“I had to figure out how to turn my company around,” she says. “It took courage, endurance, and perseverance, but I knew I could not go back, so I had no choice but to go forward.”

Courage is just one of what Friedman calls the 5 C’s for building and maintaining a successful business through the good times and bad.

“They’re the guiding principles I’ve learned through the ups and downs and all the mistakes,” she says. “They can work during the difficulties we now face as well.”

In addition to courage, here are Friedman’s other C’s, in her own words:

  • Caring. First, care enough about yourself and your dreams to believe you can achieve success even in these daunting times. Just as important is caring about your staff and creating a positive work environment for them despite the troubles we face. Be supportive of them throughout this situation that is bringing additional stress to everyone’s lives. Finally, a good business leader cares about customers. Be willing to listen to their concerns, take responsibility for mistakes and correct them.
  • Confidence. Most people have faced and overcome challenges in life. The confidence that allowed them to prevail over those challenges needs to be brought into play in business more than ever right now. Believing you can reach for and achieve your short-term and long-term goals is essential to getting you there. Maintaining your confidence is important to get through these unsettling times.
  • Competence. It’s critical to stay up on the disruptions in your industry that the coronavirus is causing. If you’re forced to downsize, this may be the time to reorganize and tap into the skills and abilities of your remaining team that are different from the roles you hired them for. That’s why it’s always important to have hired competent people who you can rely on no matter what the situation.
  • Commitment. Stay dedicated to your goals no matter how difficult that becomes during these challenging conditions. There may be times when this will be not only difficult, but downright painful. That was the case for me during those tough times after the 9/11 attacks. I had to make drastic cuts, including letting go beloved employees. But I never wanted to suffer a failure, and so I stayed committed to the goal and succeeded in pulling the business through those rough times.

In closing, she adds, “As we face the current challenges, you have to stay the course, remain positive and show caring for everyone related to your business. Most of all, no matter how dismal it seems right now, you need to have confidence that you are going to get through it.”

The One Stop Shop blog is your number one source for furniture industry tips, advice and how-to's. From social media guidance to breaking down trends in the industry, One Stop Shop offers solutions and ideas that will help specialty retailers, manufacturers and designers succeed in business. Alex’s millennial tendencies and love for listicles runs deep, but not as deep as his passion for providing useful, helpful and informative solutions. Have something you want Alex to write about? Contact him on Twitter @CLalexM or by email at