A debut business book offers a strategic proposal that prepares company owners for inevitable financial challenges and finds opportunities within them.
Slain and Belair had starkly different experiences when the recession hit in 2008. Slain was the owner of fitness franchises and was unprepared for a sharp downturn in demand for the services he sold. He was only able to survive by borrowing $250,000 from his mother-in-law. In contrast, Belair ran “a national specialty contracting company,” one he bought prior to the recession and sold after it for a huge financial windfall. The two authors devised a system—the Recession Readiness Assessment™—formulated to both appraise a company’s current state of health and help fortify current weaknesses before the cyclically inevitable occurs: a recession, broadly defined as “any big shock to a company’s system.” The assessment is a collection of 20 questions divided into five sections, each one corresponding to a gear in a gearbox—assess (first gear), tune (second gear), race (third gear), and accelerate (fourth gear), plus an emergency brake, the pulling of which means one begins cutting overhead to remain profitable. Executives always start in first gear. Then the astutely composed questions, combined with a diagnosis of the economy’s health, help them determine which gear to choose next. The authors offer sensibly prudent and consistently lucid counsel regarding not just the importance of preparation for disaster, but also its nature. The assessment itself, provided in full in the book, will at the very least serve as a valuable diagnostic tool. Some of the questions may be obvious, especially those pertaining to available cash and debt, but others are both important and easily overlooked. For example, the authors suggest taking a hard look at the financial worthiness of the vendors a company relies on. The prose can be unctuously ingratiating, unfortunately common in business guides: “We’re almost at the end of the book. Are you ready to Rock the Recession?” But the authors provide a genuinely useful discussion of recession-preparedness and a usefully actionable tool for its judicious establishment.
A thorough analysis of the necessity of planning for an economic disaster and a well-articulated system to achieve it.