Julia Langkraehr, Bold Clarity

Julia Langkraehr, Bold Clarity

Businesses need to make faster decisions even if they are not 100% sure they are right because markets and sectors are changing very quickly during the pandemic, says Julia Langkraehr, Founder of Bold Clarity, which provides support for entrepreneurial firms.

SMEs need to get faster at making decisions during the Covid pandemic, says Julia Langkraehr, a business coach and advisor.

She says: “Businesses have to make quick decisions in this kind of world. Even if they are the wrong decisions, it is better to make a mistake and then move on. Businesses sometimes get paralysed by all the decisions they have to make but they need to ask themselves, what is right for the business right now?”

Julia says that because markets and sectors are changing so fast as a result of the pandemic, businesses need to make fast decisions even if they are not totally sure whether they are the right ones. “Now more than ever, even if you don’t know that it is 100% the right decision, 80% is good enough. You are not looking for perfection in this market, you are looking for progress, and when you get to the next stage you will see more, so then you can either change direction slightly or keep going. But in this market it is really important that people make decisions and go.”

Julia says that her clients have been split into three distinct groups by the pandemic. The first group are those businesses which have directly suffered from lockdowns and are seeing their turnover down 80% or even 100% as a result. She says: “These businesses are experiencing a lot of trauma and they have to make really quick decisions in order to figure out how they are going to survive, because it is uncertain how long the requirement to lockdown will last.”

The second group are those businesses which have been able to adapt to the changes and carry on almost business as usual.

The third group are those which have been able to grow significantly during the pandemic because they are in sectors that are doing really well such as logistics, healthcare and technology.

Julia explains: “At the start of the pandemic they might have changed their forecasts but now they are beating those re-forecast numbers and growing quickly. They are coming to me and asking for help with managing their growth. One client achieved the same revenue in two months as he did in the whole of last year.”

She says that in each case, the speed with which the business leadership is able to make decisions is critical. “You have got to look at the facts, no matter how brutal they are, and be decisive and quick to respond. You can’t just say, oh, I will decide that next week. Taking more time doesn’t give you a better decision, and you lose the ability to react in the market.”

Julia says it is also important to have the right sized leadership team for your business in order to be able to make these speedy decisions. “You need to be objective; appointing people to the leadership team should not be based on how long they have been in the business, it should be based on what is the right structure for the organisation today.”

Julia says that contrary to the negative news reports by the media, the outlook for SMEs is not all doom and gloom. “Entrepreneurial businesses are problem solvers by nature and so when they see a problem that they can solve and add value, that is how they grow their businesses. This pandemic is creating incredible market opportunities for some sectors and businesses.”

Julia’s three top tips for businesses right now

1. As the founder or owner, you need to evaluate what you want from your business. This is a great time to decide what is the core focus for your business and what its core values are, because then you can make decisions around them.

2. Make sure your team matches those core values and that they operate in accordance with them.

3. Put proper systems in place. Right now is a great time to look at where your business is inefficient so you can put systems in place to make it more efficient.

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