Slowly but surely the business starts to stutter; small problems become bigger; staff are not "stepping up" like you need them to; cash flow starts to get tight, and you just don’t have the time to sort these things out. It’s becoming necessary to be at the hospital more and more, but if you don’t resolve these problems with the business, there is going to be one more casualty.
If you were in this situation, would your business survive for a week, a month, six months, a year? Would it continue to produce profits and income for you, or would it struggle to survive?
Here is the not-so-secret secret: Your business doesn’t care what’s happening to you. It just reacts to what you give it.
Your business is like a plant. If you give it water (customers), sunshine (good systems and staff), and good soil (the right market), it grows and flourishes. But if you neglect it, forget to water it, and put it in the wrong place, it will struggle. Leave it alone for too long and eventually it will die.
What if you found the perfect place for your plant, set up an automated water supply, and gave it nutrient-rich compost? Sure, you still need to check on it from time to time, but if you are away for a while, it would be okay. The plant doesn’t care what is happening in your personal life or if you or your family are healthy or well. It doesn’t understand and never will. To live and flourish it just needs what it needs.
I have seen businesses too reliant on the owner get into trouble very quickly. The owner experiences an unexpected personal crisis, can’t work for awhile, their attention is elsewhere. All of a sudden jobs start going wrong, customers start complaining, cash flow dries up, work stops coming in; it’s very very stressful.
As we all know (especially in Christchurch), unexpected things can happen in life. Circumstances can change in an instant, and your whole world looks different.
What kind of stuff can happen? Well, anything.
• Trouble with your marriage/partner
• A family member is very sick/Life-threatening illness
• Death of a loved one
• Personal injury or illness/chronic pain
• Spouse/partner needs a minor or major operation
• Addiction struggles (your own or a family member)
• Staff you rely on are experiencing one of the above
The list is endless, but you get the idea.
By the way, although the odds of these things happening to you in the next year are relatively small, if you look at the list entirely, the chances are at least one of these things will happen to you or your staff.
When it does, you will not be able to give the time and effort to your business that you once were. You will need space to deal with these important life events. (Even if you are still spending time in your business, you won’t be at your best).
I think we all agree family is more important than business. So if someone you love needs you, you need to be able to step away from your business without things falling apart.
In these storms, you need a business that will look after itself for a while or at least survive with only a little focus and help from you.
Remember too there are plenty of good things that affect your business also, although these are easier to see coming.
• Weddings and new relationships
• Pregnancy and new babies
• Moving house
• A big holiday or trip overseas
Think about what happened last time you took a few days or months off. What shape was your business in when you got back? Maybe you don’t take holidays anymore because the mess you come back to is just too stressful…
The good news is with planning and some good strong systems, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Two of my clients not so long ago each had an unexpected health crisis, and both of their businesses have come through in good shape. I am not saying the businesses were performing at optimum capacity, but they kept functioning properly in spite of the owners absence - continued to produce results, perform well and provide income. Staff knew what to do, so there was no extra stress on the owner.
You know what? Every single circumstance I listed above has happened in the lives of business owners I work with, at least once, in the last two years alone! And some in my own life as well.
As a business mentor and coach, I know how important it is to hope and plan for the best, but also have a plan for the worst.
So to sum up: your business needs protection. You need to make sure you have everything in place so, just like the plant, it will carry on regardless of your circumstances.
If you need help, email me to ask about the 7 Most Important Action Steps to ensure any business would survive a personal crisis.