Chaos in the Calm

Posted July 16, 2020

Business was purring along just fine. Clients happy, bills getting paid, cash piling up, smiles all around. You relax, which is good, but you just don’t do the little extras anymore to keep the growth coming, to set yourself apart from the competition, to make sure the upcoming months will be as good as the current ones. Or something unforeseen happens that is out of your control.

Chaos comes crashing in, a little bad news here, something falls between the cracks there and one of your clients goes somewhere else. You didn’t see this coming and to pile on, something happens in the local business market, things slow down. Another client, stays but cuts back, or worse, can’t pay their bills.

All these hit at the same time, when everything seemed under control. What do you do?!?!

When chaos invades your calm. When the sea you’re sailing on gets a little bumpy there are three things you should remember and execute on right away.

  1. Own that you must act now. You can’t just sit back and ignore changes in business as if it were some strange anomaly. It is critical that you do the things that gave you initial success. You got to a successful place by some concerted efforts. Identify those efforts and get back at it.
  2. Identify and address the real issue not merely the symptoms. Losing a client, a sale or a chunk of market share can be devastating. The tendency can be to try to fix the symptom and not the cause. Yes, you’ll need to address the symptoms. Things like cash flow, loss of staff or having to adjust your overhead. But it is critical to understand why you are losing business and focus on correcting that issue.
  3. Think Strategy not emotion. It is easy to get angry, sad or even depressed about the downturn in business. People have a tendency to sit in their emotions and not move outside of how you feel. It’s always easiest to work when you’re passionate about something and you’re happy and confident. The real work is to do that same work when internally you just feel down and bad. This is when you have to engage in very intentional strategic thinking. Analyze, inspect, get counsel from others, solve and plan.

If you’ve been around the block a few times you know things always change. Sometimes from bad to good, but also from good to bad. Challenges will come at you, chaos will raise its head and disturb your calm. That is when you need most to keep your wits about you. To remember you got here once by hard, dedicated effort and you can do it again.

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