'A Crisis Can Give You Courage'
“It seems like every 10 years, something like (the COVID-19) pandemic happens,” says Don Mead, CEO of Callaghan Tire Inc. in Bradenton, Fla. “There was the early-80’s recession, the early-90’s recession, the Great Recession and now this.” Mead says there are four things tire dealers should do during every crisis:
1. Take care of your people. "Make sure you're taking care of your employees. You need policies and programs in place."
2. Take care of your customers. "Each customer is different. Make sure you know what your customers' policies and rules are."
3. Practice business continuity. "You have a cost structure. And you have to make sure you're financially capable of getting through this. You have to lower your break-even and look at your costs. Some are unproductive assets. You have to get after them."
4. Crack down on loose spending. "I used to call this 'discretionary spending.' You have to address what's leaking out of the bucket."
Even more important is taking the long view and not losing sight of where you want to be three to five years down the road. “It’s hard because you’re in hand-to-hand combat every single day,” he says. “But a crisis can expose things” that need to be fixed while providing an opportunity to address them.
“You can finally confront some brutal realities that you might have overlooked during the good times. The best time to make progress is during a crisis. And you want your employees to understand this, too. They want confidence and want to know there is a future beyond this. A crisis can give you courage.”