How to get back on track after a business blip
No matter how prepared you are in business (and life) there’s still something that may cause an intermittent blip on your business. Whether you are an online or offline business there’s always something that may stop you from earning money, and that comes with a whole host of fears, anxieties and stresses that all serve to skew you off course.
In times of turmoil, be it economically, politically or personally, it can be tricky to remain focused. This is where the trap lies, as we then hear business owners focusing on fear-based language, rather than practical-based language.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to close my business.“
“What if I have to lay off my staff?”
These are all legitimate worries, but, as the saying goes, “worrying achieves nothing more than ruining your day.” Instead of spending your valuable time consuming content that will more than likely paint a picture of imminent catastrophe, channel your energy into productivity. Become practical-based.
“I may have to close my business, so if that happens, I’m going to do X”
“What options are there that would allow me to retain my staff?”
I read recently that when every crisis is over, there are brand-new billionaires and brand-new bankruptcies. Whilst it’s tempting to stay in Panic City, worrying about every what, which and why, step over to Practicality Island and assess your next strategic move. It doesn’t have to be big- it just has to be the first step on that path.
As some of you may know, my wife and I also run Acorn Health, a Chiropractic and Multidisciplinary Healthcare clinic. With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and likely resultant economic crisis, we’ve recently had to sit back and reassess the situation, and make that small first step. It wasn’t much, but it was a first step. We reviewed our current Infection Control and Hygiene policies and processes, and decided we needed to communicate with our patients on what steps we already had in place and what more we were doing to keep themselves (and us) safe.
It wasn’t much- a Facebook post, a page on our website, and a few posters in clinic. It served to reassure our patients and promoted an attitude of “don’t worry, we’ve got this” when all the world was going mad and stockpiling toilet roll. (Has anyone told them that Coronavirus doesn’t cause D&V…?)
So, what’s your first step going to be?
What is the opportunity here?
By this, we certainly don’t mean capitalise on a global disaster (although there are people out there who always will). That idea might not sit comfortably with many of us.
When we suggest looking for the opportunity, we mean go back, reassess, review. What are you currently doing that’s working? Do you know what isn’t working? Are there new and novel ideas to be explored that allow for ingenuity and innovation?
Use the resources at your disposal
We’re big fans of the Brené Brown “Rumble” approach (more on that here). A rumble is defined as “a discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving, to take a break and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts, and, as psychologist Harriet Lerner teaches, to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.“
Too often, we see our business owners neglecting some of the most valuable resources available to them during times of crisis for fear of not looking like they have the answers. Resources such as their colleagues, staff, friends and family.
So, when did you last have an open and honest discussion with your team? If you don’t have a team, what about your loved ones?
Remember that as a leader, it’s not about having the answer, it’s about finding the answer.
Bring your current concerns to the table, and ask for their input. You might be surprised at the ideas that arise simply by speaking with others and gaining a different viewpoint. What’s more, where you might only have seen a series of obstacles and barriers, someone else might come up with an idea so genius you practically see the metaphorical lightbulb ping on above their head!
We’ve got a plan- what now?
So, you’ve sat down and worked out your first step, and rumbled with your resources to encourage some innovative ideas.
If you’ve coached with us, you know what’s coming next.
That’s right- write it down.
The more detail the better.
Your plan for your business might look a little something like this:
“In the next two weeks, I am going to produce a daily video that will be two minutes long. These videos are going to be shared across all our social media channels, Youtube and sent out via our mailing list. I have scheduled a regular time on (DATE AND TIME) to record the video and reserved (X) amount of time to edit and publicise it afterwards.
My video topics are: Underwater basket weaving, geometry in Ancient Greece and how to crochet a hat for a squirrel.” (Or whatever inspiring topics float your boat)
See how detailed this is? The beauty lies in the detail, and it’s the detail that will help you stick to these goals. Now let’s look at it in detail. Do you have the skills you need to do this? Do you have the technology? Do you need someone else’s assistance? Is there anything that could stop you from completing this? If so, what’s your back up plan going to be?
A final thought for you.
Control only what is in your power to control.
There is a limited amount that we can do in times of crisis- sometimes we have to follow instructions that come from The Powers That Be and all we can do is go along with it. Instead of seeking to control everything (which it’s unlikely you will be able to do) focus on what you can control.
I love a good list- so I would always encourage you to sit down and write it out. Look at the challenges and obstacles you’re facing, and ask yourself if you have control over that situation. If you do, great, you can put steps in place to ameliorate the impact from any worst-case scenario that might affect that situation (…and write those steps down). If you don’t, don’t spend your time trying to control it. That doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for the “what ifs”, but it does mean that your time could be spent much more constructively.
If you can keep your head during a crisis… there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll manage yourself, your business (and your team) smoothly through any period of upset. Not only that, you will come out of the end stronger and better equipped, with a strong plan in place for when life returns to normal.
As always, we’re here to help.
Why not begin your communications skills training with us?