The first reaction to walking into quicksand must be panic. There is no quick change of circumstance, the hapless adventurer forced to consider their fate in slow motion. What they desperately need at that point is someone on terra firma to throw them a lifeline.
Many of your clients have experienced a similar – although not life-threatening – situation in the past two years as COVID had gradually reduced their ability to trade profitably, slowly stripping them of cash reserves and forcing them into debt in order to survive.
Have you thrown them a lifeline?
Clearly it is not your responsibility to bail them out financially, but have you offered them planning support so that they have a way back, a route map?
Without a doubt, this has been an exceptional period for all of us. How can you rush to support clients in dire need of your planning expertise when they have no resources to pay you for your time?
Do you consider pro-bono work? If your efforts are successful, will clients in receipt of your largesse be forever grateful and become enthusiastic ambassadors for your practice?
No practitioner would willingly watch clients that they have worked with for years, gradually sink into obscurity without casting around to see how they could help.
But practitioners need to make uncomfortable choices, and many have been faced by these choices during the pandemic.
Are there more challenges ahead? Will there be more occasions when these uncomfortable choices re-emerge? Clearly, the answer is yes.
Professional advisers are problem solvers. They will need to adapt and be able to provide appropriate support when circumstances demand. They will need to create life-line services that can be offered at low-cost to business owners sinking into obscurity. Once dragged clear of the initial threats, clients can then be coached into planning for a successful rebuild.
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