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:
- 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
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.
- Be honest.
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.
- Ask for
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.
- Leave the
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.
- Lean into
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.
- 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!
- Adjust your
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.
Just shake it off. Get down. Boogie. Then get back to work.