While Harvey and Irma are shaking up the East Coast, Hurricane Business whipped its wicked winds and rain through my neck of the woods in August. While the devastation was nowhere near life-threatening like the real hurricanes, it was painstaking and the storm took me by surprise.
I’ve been travelling around talking about getting momentum in your business which requires you to recognize and manage what’s in your control so you can smooth out the roller-coaster ride of revenue. But, what happens when something unexpected and totally out of your control happens? Do you have a risk management plan for your business?
My business had been rocking and rolling for 7 months straight, I made it to a 5-figure month and as I was celebrating my success, the storm rolled in. First, my friend since grade school lost her 16 year old son and the events unfolded on Facebook over the course of 4-5 days. During the same time-frame I decided to let go of a client who did not fit into my core values of doing business.
Over 10 days, I was knocked right off my pedestal. Feeling depressed and unmotivated, I took some days off to mourn my losses.
The following week I had a talk scheduled for UC Davis Children’s Miracle Network to address their Board of Directors. They work with kids who have all kinds of life-threatening diseases such as cancer, but many of the kids are trauma patients, just like my friend’s son. I had no idea how I was going to deliver a speech to them. I could barely think about my friend and her son without losing it. Thank goodness, the event organizer had mixed up the dates and contacted me to tell me it was a week later than she told me. I was able to pull up my big girl boots up by then and deliver an awesome talk incorporating and honoring my friend and her son, and inspiring the audience to continue doing more to help save kids.
This storm has taken its toll on me. I’ve gotten messages from friends who’ve said, “we haven’t heard from you in a while, are you ok?” I realized I haven’t connected with you in a while either, so I thought I would reach out and ask you,
“What do you do to prepare yourself for a hurricane in your business?”
Here are a few steps I’ve taken already to help me rebuild from the storm and get back on my feet.
- Make sales calls. Ok, I know this doesn’t sound exciting to MOST of you, but that’s what I did. I have an event coming up in October that I’ve been preparing for this last year and I started picking up the phone and checking in with people I’ve met. There’s no better feeling to me than helping someone else. When you come from a place of service, there really isn’t any selling to be done. I haven’t called everyone yet, but just picking up the phone and talking to a few others made me feel much better.
- Review your core values. It’s really hard when you realize a source of income (your client) and you are not a good fit and being brave enough to let them go for your sake and theirs. But, how do you know? If you have a set of core values, it makes it easier. My top three are integrity, positivity, and caring. These are how I want my clients to feel about me, and what I also expect of them. These values extend to my vendors and even friends and family. If we can’t meet on these values, we are not a good fit. Knowing them and living by them are essential. Do we sometimes slip? You bet, that’s why we have these values to help us get back on track. Positivity is sometimes easy to slip up on which takes me to the last step here….
- Practice positive thoughts. This can be soooo difficult when in the eye of the storm. I process information and solve problems by talking about them. This can be perceived as negative and perception is reality. If you are like me and you must talk through your problems, get a trusted advisor, coach, or counselor who understands this about you so it doesn’t affect/her negatively. You wouldn’t believe how your actions (even when they seem innocent) can affect others.
Practicing positive attitude thoughts is something we must do every day, such as these:
- Changing your vocabulary from can’t and won’t to can and will is a simple one to do. Because I just planted this seed with you, these words will stick out like a sore thumb the next time they come out of your mouth. I challenge you to re-frame your sentence to what is possible.
- Listening to audio books and reading articles with positive affirmations. I suggest Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking on audio book. (It was written a long time ago, so excuse the masculine references, the message is what I want you to hear).
- Meditating to help with grounding, self-confidence, and higher purpose. I about wore about my three of my meditation apps, but it sure helped.
- Be humble. We are meant to go through storms, it makes us stronger. We often come together closer as a community when we shift through the changing tide together. Understand that it happens to all of us, and “it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you react to what happens to you that’s important.”
- Reflect on what you’re thankful for because there’s always something. I had to be reminded of this by others because it’s hard to see when the sand is blowing all around your face. If you must, write it down. I declared it on Facebook, it was like accountability for me.
- Give of yourself. I waived my fee for a talk to women entrepreneurs the week after my storm was coming in. It felt great to give to them and it helped boost my self-confidence when I received accolades from the attendees. It’s really helpful when you’re feeling hit hard to have others remind you of your greatness.
Enough about me, let’s hear from you. I’m still coming out of the back end of the storm and could use more ideas on how to recover and recoup. Write me back, tell me about your storm and what you learned. How did you get out of it? What lessons would you tell others facing a business hurricane?