When a hurricane hits in the middle of the business.
As I write I am sitting outside watching bands of Hurricane Ian start to work their way up the coast of Florida. The water in my backyard is already rising, and the winds got here way earlier than was predicted. My thoughts are with all my friends in Southwest Florida as they brace for the initial impact. It’s no doubt, hurricanes are scary and unpredictable. Yet we can’t take our eye off them (no pun intended), because there is something just awe inspiring about their power and strength.
Last night, I started to feel the anxiety build up trying to figure out how I was going to do ALL. THE. THINGS. to prepare for the unknown wind and rain that could come our way. Between preparing the house and the studio, the to-do list seemed overwhelming. But in that moment, I took a deep breath, made a list of what needed to be done and started rallying the troops (also known as my husband and my kids) and we knocked out an incredible amount of tasks in a very little amount of time.
This morning, I got up, made my tea and headed to the back patio. There is a definite coolness is in the air instead of the humid, stifling heat that has been our weather pattern. As my tea finished steeping, I picked up the handle and my breath caught discovering the mug I had randomly pulled out of the cabinet.
PEACE. I smiled and exhaled as I took that first sip of tea. And it got me thinking… of all the storms of life and all the storms of business…. how do we find peace and that feeling that “it’s all gonna be alright”.
It occurred to me that we achieve peace in the areas of business and life by doing the same thing we do to prepare for a hurricane. The first is to make sure you find a safe place to shelter. The windows need to be rated for the wind expected, or maybe you are boarding up. The walls need to be solid and built on a strong foundation. And then you prep. For those, not familiar with Hurricane Prep, it’s like an unspoken set of routines when you start to see that wobble or pivot in the storm and you find yourself in the cone of uncertainty. It does no good to start running around screaming like chicken little, especially when the storm is days out and the path can change so much. You don’t want to devote all the time to prep if it’s not even going to be in your area because it creates so much work to pull everything in, gather supplies, divide a plan… that if you just had to undo everything for a non event it builds frustration and a loss of productivity. So the longer you live here, the more it just starts to be routine of what you bring in when, and what order you start to prepare from the least inconvenient to the “oh man, this is gonna be a doozy” check lists.
The same way we prepare for hurricanes is the same we need to prepare in your business if you want to achieve peace. No one will argue that there are storms that will inevitably come throughout your time of owning a business from family emergencies to staffing shortages, supply issues to leasing catastrophes or even global pandemics. The businesses that survive are those that have built strong walls of protection for their businesses. But how do you build walls or protection around your business- figuratively speaking? And where do you start? Especially if you’re just getting started in business, the task list can be overwhelming and you may not even feel peace when there are no storm If you’re in business make sure you have walls of protection built in so that when the storms of life hit, you aren’t feeling like chicken little.
My biggest advice is to start simple with building blocks that will give your business a strong foundation.
Focus on your POLICIES AND PROCEDURES and write them down. Have a working document or Trello board that clearly defines your policies, yes– even if it’s just you in business. Then as you develop systems and procedures for how you do things, write these down too! It will keep you following a system and make it easier as your business grows to train your first employees. This is an area I go into depth in during Maker Bootcamp Training, because I feel these truly are the foundation of your business. It often is the more “boring” or tedious steps to write them down, especially being a solopreneur– but I promise you it’s worth putting your policies into words and posting them on your Website and building a catalog of your procedures to draw from will help you develop strong systems.
Next, you’ll want to rally the troops.– THE RIGHT TROOPS. When you start out, you most likely will be a solopreneur. However to truly grow to scale you’ll probably find yourself at some point needing help in a few areas. Be careful who you bring into your business. Build a strong CULTURE in your business of people who support your vision of the business. Contempt and distrust breeds like wildfire. When you hire, it’s most important to look at attitude versus skills that you can train.
One other area you can build walls of protection for your business is to build strong boundaries around your personal areas in life. As entrepreneurs it’s easy to work ourselves to death in pursuit of the next goal, the next sale and the greater vision. Before you do this though, define the boundaries you want to place around your family time, your personal time and what you are (or are not) willing to do or sacrifice for the business. This could include vacations, holiday routines, sports games for your kids and more. If you burn out, your business is at a high risk of burn out. So protect yourself from yourself. Find peace.
Want to dive deeper into this training and others? Join our next MAKER BOOTCAMP for a deep dive into how to start, scale or grow your handmade business.