When starting up a business, many people read up on everything there is to know, seek training, take advice and plan their future.
Then they start running the business and settle into a pattern. There’s not always time to continue training or adjust plans to take account of reality, especially when life throws unexpected challenges at you. Family members, health issues, industry developments, the ups and downs of national and international economies: all have to be dealt with. When times are tough, you can find yourself dealing with one challenge, only to move straight on to the next one. When is there time to draw breath?
I’ve had a few years like that now: not caused by one specific thing but a combination of events that occurred simultaneously, which no one could have forecast. That didn’t make it any easier. Sometimes I felt that I wasn’t in control as all my waking time was required for one thing or another. I wondered whether I would ever see a clear path again.
Well, this year I do feel more in control. Not all problems have been solved, but I have strategies for dealing with those that remain. I also have got back to planning, updating systems and processes, and am putting development into action. We’re investing and training, and applying our existing expertise and experience in new ventures. It feels as though I have just sailed out of the fog and have a clear view of everything. In fact, I seem to have crystal clear vision.
How has this happened?
I believe there are two main reasons:
The first is that I faced up to the feeling of being overwhelmed by a number of insurmountable problems and chipped away at all the things I could do. Some problems, eg the economy, were beyond my immediate influence so all I could do was get the business in the best shape possible for the challenging times we’re living through. Other problems, such as family members’ health, I cannot change, but I can still play a part to make things as comfortable as possible for them.
The second is support from my business networks. Without a doubt, sharing problems with people I trust has enabled me to move from feeling locked into situations I could not alter to initiating changes I want. Again, it hasn’t solved everything, but I am now in a very positive frame of mind and have seen my productivity soar. In fact, I feel that some problems were more imaginary than real, a danger when you feel you can’t see clearly.
So thank you to everyone in all my networks. Whether we just exchange casual banter or discuss more serious issues, you provide valuable support to me and probably many others too. I hope I reciprocate.
When you’re running your own business, what’s most important is you – being in the best condition physically and mentally – and the support of your network.