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8 ways to weather a storm.

Kim McMullen
Flipside Insights

As a small business built on heart first and profit second, there’s one thing we know for sure: business is stormy.
High pressure systems come in like a cougar lying in wait. They pounce. Hard. And suddenly you’re knee deep in a river without a jacket in a hail storm alone with a WTF look on your face.

We’ve been in business for 11 years. In those 11 years, there’ve been some hurricanes, some typhoons, a few quakes, and a whole bunch of grey clouds.

Here’s how to find the sunshine when business is dishing out trouble:

  1. Know your worst case scenario.
    Ours is this: We go bankrupt. We have to close up shop. We cry because we’ll miss each other and all find new jobs. We call our clients and thank them for a wild ride. Then we carry on.

    Not what we want but… Not so bad. At all.

    Knowing that our worst case isn’t that bad means that in tough times we don’t let fear drive us; we leap with passion and intention. Because even if we fall flat, we’re going to be okay.

  2. Be honest. With everyone.
    When it gets ugly, tell it like it is. We get together. Face to face. One time it was so bad we did a group tequila shot to take the edge off. Then we talk transparently. We clear the trouble and attack the storm head-on as a team.

    It’s the not knowing that creates fear and uncertainty. Knowing is powerful. So spill it.

  3. Ask for help.
    It has always amazed us how many people and organizations are keen to lend a hand. If you’ve operated authentically and honestly throughout your business’ history, there will be a raging lineup of generous folks and staunch supporters keen to help life you up when you’re down.

  4. Leave the office.
    Our gut instincts often tell us to stay in times of turmoil. Work harder and for longer. Empty that tank. And when it’s empty, run on fumes, baby. I’m all for digging deep. Sometimes you’ve gotta. But I’m not for running on empty.

    When things go awry, pause. Breathe. Meet a friend for coffee. Go for a run. Leave the storm, if only for a moment. The perspective you gain in the pause is priceless.

  5. Lean into it.
    Seth Godin taught us that everyone will hit a dip at some point. And when you do, there are two ways out. 1) You can head back the way you came and scramble back to shore. OR 2) you can lean into it. Hard. And the momentum will take you out the other side. Leaning in is all sorts of frightening. We’ve had a lot of sweaty pits from lean-ins. It’s also rewarding. Because the grass is greener. And you can get there. Believe and lean.

  6. Embrace the storm. Love the crap out it.
    Dolly Parton once said that “Storms makes trees take deeper roots.” We’ve learned a lot of great lessons from storms. We’ve become stronger. More agile. Kinder. Larger. More firm in our convictions. More lax in our self-doubt. We love our storms. Because they unleash our inner thunder. And that shit is powerful!

  7. Adjust your sails.
    Sometimes, when you want to go right, business takes a hard left. Take the unexpected with grace. Move with it. Work with it. In most cases, it was the path you were meant to travel anyway. You’ll see.

  8. Dance.

    Just shake it off. Get down. Boogie. Then get back to work.

Kim McMullen

Kim gets up before the sun, drinks green juice on conference calls, says Bam! when she's proud of the team, and solves marketing challenges on mountain tops.

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