Living in Canterbury over the last couple of weeks coping with adversity has been a very real issue for many business owners including myself. I personally know of people who have had their business “written off” and are facing the prospect of having to start again, others have been locked out of their offices for several days or weeks, left wondering when they can get going again and start earning a living then there are the more fortunate businesses that did not get directly affected by the earthquake but are still suffering financially due to their clients reigning back the spending whilst they get their own businesses in order. It doesn’t have to be an earthquake that causes this, it could be any number of natural disasters or even global economic disasters that causes business to cease or significantly decrease in revenue.
Having talked to many business owners in Canterbury after the earthquake hit one of the main issues the business owners and their staff were facing was that of focus or the lack there of. Especially in the aftermath of an earthquake where there are many aftershocks reminding the population that nature may or may not be finished with Canterbury, this resulted in GeoNet receiving more than 15 million hits since the day the earthquake hit demonstrating the significant shift in focus.
There are a number of things you should do in times like these to ensure business is positioned as well as it can be to get though:
- Begin your day as you always do: This is especially important if you have to work from home or in temporary accommodation, why, because you mind is used to “getting into work mode” during the journey to your work place. If you walk to work, try leaving the house going for a walk of equivalent time, if you drive to work do the same thing jump in the car and drive for a little while thinking about what you are going to do in your working day. If you are in a temporary office situation try and make your office space replicate your own as this will also help the mind recognise the working environment.
- Stay Focused on the Day to Day things: Once you are in work mode ensure you and your staff are organised, try having a meeting first thing each day to help everyone understand what exactly needs to be done each day. This is good for keeping the staff focused on a daily basis but it also works for the business owner because it will help them stay focused on the big picture.
- Stick to the Plan: This is really important, it can be too easy for business owners to start thinking off on tangents especially when they are unable to carry out the normal day to day tasks of their business ….. DON”T DO IT!! If there is ever a time to stay focused on your business plan it will be in times of adversity, by all means take notes of any ideas you may have but stick to the core purpose of your business. Once things get back to normal by all means check out the ideas that surfaced during that difficult time.
- Get in touch with your Customers: When times are difficult (no matter what the reason) it is always good to touch base with you customers to find out how they are doing (this is not a hard sell call), find out if they need any help. Doing this by phone or face to face is preferable to a generic email and will be viewed as being more sincere.
- Continue to do Business: This can be easier said than done depending on your circumstances but if it is possible make sure you follow up that good lead, write that proposal you have already promised a potential customer, follow up any proposals you already have out in the market place and contact those you had already scheduled meetings for. Ensuring you continue with your business to the best of your abilities and resources will give you business the best possible chance to get through any tough time.
- Seek Advice: In difficult times there is usually a wealth of advice for business owners, whether that is financial, legal, from the local government, etc. It is your responsibility to understand what help is out there and how that affects / benefits your business and how to go about receiving that help.
Keep your focus, your enthusiasm and you motivation for yor business as high as possible if you find yourself struggling try and surround yourself with people that have these traits by the bucket load it will help!!