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Episode Info: What should a business leader, especially a startup CEO, do to survive a downturn. Ray Zinn, the longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley, has survived many of them and shares his knowledge in this first in our “Three Tough Things You Need To Do” series. Guy Smith: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Tough Things First podcast and this is a special event today. This is the first in a series of periodic podcasts that we’re going to do on the three tough things that you need to do in order to have a healthy business. We’re going to pick a different topic every time, but we’re going to pick on Ray Zinn’s wisdom on really the critical elements that an entrepreneur or a business leader needs to face, needs to stare down, needs to take control of in order to make sure that they will succeed in business. Before we go, jumping into the topic today, which is the three tough things that you need to do to help your business survive in a downturn, we’ll bring on Ray Zinn. Hello Ray, how are you today? Ray Zinn: Doing great, Guy. Thanks for doing this podcast with me. Guy Smith: Oh, I love doing these podcasts. I learned so much from you per unit time that it’s like drinking from a fire hose. I feel like I’m getting one of the best educations in my life whenever I do a podcast with you. Ray Zinn: Well, thank you. Guy Smith: So let’s dive in because right now when we’re recording this, it’s early 2020. There’s no recession probably going to happen this year, but maybe next year. That means there’s going to be an economic downturn and there’s probably a lot of entrepreneurs in your audience who are already kind of anticipating that, but they may not be sure about what to do in a big downturn. So why don’t we start off. Why don’t you give me the first thing that a business leader needs to do in order to be prepared? The one tough thing that maybe they don’t want to do but they got to do in order to make sure that they survive a downturn. Ray Zinn: Well, there’s two issues that we need to back up a bit here, Guy, because there’s two kinds of downturns. One, a downturn is a reduction in revenue and so it could happen as a startup. In other words, you could not have any revenue and that’s a downturn in that sense of the word, because all startups start at the bottom as they say, or you could be having an ongoing running business and then you hit some kind of snag and the business falls off and then how do you deal with that? So there’s two kinds of, as I say, two kinds of downturns and both are important. Yesterday, I met with a couple of guys who, or actually three guys, who were a nine-year old startup. So can you imagine how you call yourself a startup after nine years? But they’d already gone through $16 million and had no revenue. So they were talking to me about what I like to invest in their business and I said, “No.” They said, “Well, why not?” I said, “Are you kidding me?” You’ve bee...
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