Right now, business owners are having to make the hardest decisions they have ever had to endure due to COVID-19. I'm no exception.
Last week was the most difficult week in my professional life. In one day, we said goodbye to employees that have been with us since the beginning of our company. They were friends and close to family as we spent more time with them than our own spouses. The pain in the pit of my stomach has not gone away since last week.
The worry of the mental health, financial burden, and heartache of the employees we let go is on my mind from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. The inhumanity of asking someone who has served you well to turn in their keys and cut off an email in the blink of an eye is demoralizing.
On the surface, things had never been better: our company built the COVID19 Business Center and helped 91,000 owners pivot during this outbreak. However our revenue, like most businesses, is not matching the pace. Similar to every company in the country and maybe the planet right now, we have spent the last month looking at everything possible to save money, cut costs, and stretch budgets. The rate of companies furloughing or laying off employees is rising by the minute. With revenue literally stopping and the challenges around PPP, many businesses have no choice but to lay off valued employees.
How to Know What's Right
I am sharing this because I know thousands of companies and entrepreneurs are having to make choices that are deeply personal. Because of the current crisis, we are all doing things we don't like, pausing our business, fully restructuring, going into debt, and applying for assistance. Like it or not, the new normal is something that we're learning day-by-day.
My heart wanted to ensure that every contractor, employee, and consultant would stay with us through this dip, but my head started to see that the numbers wouldn't add up. When you start considering investors, board members, and most of all, the customers we are mandated to serve until this economic dip and COVID-19 pandemic ceases, suddenly the heart gets pushed aside.
So if you're facing a similar decision, I urge you to lead with your heart, but pay attention to your mind. Remember, you can listen to everyone's advice, investors' mandates, board requirements and employees' opinions, but at the end of the day, the buck stops with you.