There are times in business when you feel lonely, everything seems to be stacked against you and you just don’t know what to do! Just surviving the day can feel scary and over whelming.
Take 10 slow deep breaths, grab your diary and find the first available block of 4 free hours and diary an appointment with yourself.
If that session is a couple of days away, stop for 15 minutes now and answer the following 3 questions:
- Why did I start my business?
- What did I think a successful version of my business would look like?
- What is working in my business at the moment and what isn’t?
By answering these questions, you will be helping calm your thoughts and focus your mind on a time when you were full of belief and positive thoughts. As soon as you can, spend as much time as you can make available in nature (everyone can prioritise other things to find an hour or two a day). This might be a walk in the park, along the beach, some outdoor time with your dog or cat or horse, a short tramp in a bush reserve, a swim in the ocean, a walk by the river, etc.
Sometimes to survive we need to recalibrate our goals and plans because when things are tough, we have to put all of our resources into surviving. This ideology was encapsulated in the saying “Live to fight another day” which justified retreating and reconsolidating your resources.
On your four-hour session with yourself, I suggest you complete the following list of tasks.
- Create a list of your problems.
- Prioritise that list, from biggest to smallest (that is to say what is the problem that when solved would make the biggest difference to you is number one).
- Now, focus on that problem: I.e. I don’t have enough money to pay this month’s creditors?
- Write down all the possible solutions i.e. borrow the money, increase sales by clearing some stock at a deal price, liquidate an asset (sell your car and lease one instead), sell your debtors to a factoring company, stop activities that are burning cash, incentivies debtors to pay early, reduce your terms, i.e. credit card transaction on agreeing to the contract, rather than 20th month following.
- Pick the best three strategies that will give the biggest benefit with the least effort in the biggest time.
- Review all expenditure and eliminate EVERYTHING that isn’t ESSENTIAL – do it today.
- List all interests and projects that aren’t making a profit or are consuming your time. Eliminate or mothball them all today.
- Now, focus all your time and energy on EVERYTHING you can do to increase sales?
View every day as a new start and set a goal of doing two things that would improve your sales and one thing that would reduce your costs for every day. If you commit to this, I guarantee you will resolve your crisis.
Four survival hacks to manage the stress you are feeling:
- Make sure you are exercising every day, even if it is only a good long walk, preferable in nature but definitely outside.
- Eat fresh vegetables and fruit and drink lots of water if you can.
- Write to do lists at the end of each day (for the following day) and plan to have some time out with family or just time for you- whatever you can manage.
- Get as much sleep as you can – preferably 6-8 hours sleep a night.
Double down on anything that you see works, focus on getting back to a sustainable state as a priority and then hang in there. It never stays bad forever and your first priority is to get your business to be able to survive. Once you are stable, you can then start strategizing again on how you can thrust forward. The biggest difference you can make is by adjusting to your problem as quickly as possible, but then look for ways to kick forward again which in the first instance nearly always means growing sales.