Business Needs to Survive to Thrive

Survive to Thrive Mindset

Just as babies need to crawl before they walk, businesses need to survive before they thrive. Keeping this in mind during a crisis is key to staying focused on the bigger picture. Whether it is a local or global crisis it is important to understand where your thoughts are at, to best serve your business and your community.

Crisis Thoughts

FLIGHT: These are the planning thoughts. A plan for during and after the crisis. These owners will communicate clearly, research and assess resources. Time, Money, People and Skills to create an action plan. They are strategists

FRIGHT: These are the worried thoughts of only treading water and biding time. These owners have little clear communication with their team, customers, and community. They are preppers

FREEZE: These are the panic thoughts of the end of business. These owners listen to the news continuously, have no clear communication, and believe someone or something needs to step in and save them. They are victims

What they all have in common is their leadership or lack of leadership is showing. The good news is leadership is a skill to develop. Every owner can tap into their leader within.

Lately I have seen an increase in requests from not only shop owners but local business owners, industry associations and local groups on leadership advice and next step help.

My Three-Step Crisis Survival System

This system has served me well through a personal and/or business crisis. It has worked for me in multiple businesses.

Step One – Clarity – Identify the crisis. Is it yours or everyone’s? Who will it affect? How do you feel?

  • Stressed– Feeling overwhelmed can affect your eating, sleeping, mood and the quality of your decision making.
  • Concerned– Feeling concerned about the situation while looking for solutions and steps needed, for the next 30, 60 or 90 days.

Step Two – Control – You cannot control the situation, but you can control how you react to it and how you handle it. Crisis affects every area of business. Sales, Marketing, Financials, People, and Operations.

Creating your plan for during the crisis and after the crisis. Understand it will evolve as more information and data becomes available.

Step Three – Confidence – You gain confidence in the doing. Implement the plan. Who will do what and when? Learning and growing from action taken, will open your mind to innovation and creativity.

All Areas of your business will be affected during a crisis

  • Marketing: Assess messaging
  • Sales: Assess conversations
  • Operations: Assess processes and systems
  • People: Assess communication
  • Finances: Assess your numbers

The fact is many of the practices that owners consider necessary now are practices that many made excuses for not doing in the past.

An owner’s role has always been messaging, financials and relationships. The need for these becomes more apparent during times of crises.

Many business owners do not see themselves as leaders. You are a resource to your team, customers and community and you have influence. People come to you for solutions. How you choose to show up and use your influence is up to you.

The challenge with this crisis is we have no idea how long it will last. Safety is a priority. Good leaders will try to survive a crisis. Great leaders will see opportunities and take action to thrive after a crisis. They will see past themselves, their business, and align with the needs of their customers.

No Secret To A Better Team

The number one challenge small business owners tell me they face today is finding good help. I hear it from all areas of the country. People are looking for the answers, tips, tactics and all the advice they can get. Many are looking for the secret to a better team.

Their challenges are similar.

  • Not many applicants
  • People don’t seem motivated
  • Lack of accountability

Let’s Unpack This

  • What happened? (Diagnosis)
  • What can the future look like? (Vision)
  • How do we get there? (Plan)

What happened. For years we’ve seen the ripple effect of poor leadership. Many owners didn’t appreciate and value team members as people who could contribute and grow the business. The owner didn’t clearly share their story (purpose) of why they started their business. The challenge: These owners had no clear purpose or lost sight of it. Without, a vision, mission and purpose they created a job for themselves not a business. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. Poor leadership caused the ripple effect and the skills gap we have today. As a result, we have many who are disengaged at work and only work for a paycheck. My coaching purpose: I was frustrated that good people were operating their business out of fear. It broken my heart that many owners felt less than with nothing to sell after years of dedicating their lives to their business while sacrificing other areas of their life.

The future. You have a story. A reason you opened your business. It’s more than money. Money is the result of working. Go deeper. What motivated you and led you to this is your purpose. Keep in mind motivation can be positive or negative. Vision is the future and it’s bigger than your shop or business.  How do you want the industry to be? What do you think needs to change? My coaching vision:  Owners (leaders) realize their capabilities to perform at their best to reach their goals, success and fulfillment.

Getting there. Mission: How you show up every day to be a credit to your community and industry. Learn, ask, share what’s working, lessons learned, support, guide and encourage others. Start with you. Are you the best leader you could be? Why would someone want to work with you? Would they be working for just a paycheck or would they be part of something bigger?  My coaching mission: To guide trade business owners to become high-performance leaders so they can turn their dreams into reality without sacrificing their personal life.

We know we need to maintain our homes, cars and health. How do you maintain your business to keep it Enjoyable, Sustainable and Profitable? Business grows as the owner grows. Plan on developing yourself and the ripple effect will enrich your team, business, and personal life.

So, the secret to a better team is not looking for better people. It’s becoming a better leader and attracting the people who connect with your purpose, share your vision and want to be a part of it. It’s about developing and retaining people who want to grow. They each have a story as well. Learn what motivates them. Be mindful of how you show up each day. Your job as leader is to inspire them.

Comment below. If you have questions contact me here.

10 Business Lessons I’ve Learned

Small Business

Whether you’re a new business owner or have been a business owner for decades there are lessons to be learned at each of the 5 stages of business. The key word being learned. While most owners look for ways to be more profitable, profitability is only one part of achieving a healthy business. A healthy business is one that is profitable, sustainable and enjoyable. When focusing only on profits it’s easy to work at a level that is not sustainable or enjoyable. Those closest to you usually try make you aware of it, but letting you know you’re working all of the time. It’s difficult to build a team with a model that is not sustainable or enjoyable even if it is profitable at first.

I’ve learned many lessons over the years that have helped me build a healthy business, by doing the work. The difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one starts with the owner’s mindset.  

Lessons Learned by Doing

  • BE OPTIMISTIC – Is the glass hapf empty or half full. Having reasonable optimism helps you realize opportunities and attract positive people. This is about how you show up each day. Starting the day with gratitude helps.
  • MAKE DECISIONS​ – Don’t just talk about the problems. Identify them but focus on the solutions and implementing. Take chances by believing in yourself and the people you surround yourself with. Know that everything can be figured out. 
  • YOUR TEAM IS YOUR BIGGEST ASSET – You’re are only as good as the team around you. Hire smart people and allow them to do their job and own their role. If you find yourself telling them what to do, or doing it yourself, you’re not leading. Take care of them.
  • RESPECT EVERY JOB– Look for the dignity and excellence in every role and part of your business. Every person you connect with is important to your business success. Be an example of professionalism each day.
  • ENCOURAGE DISCUSSIONS – Be open to different ideas. Be approachable. Your way is not the only way. People will be open when they feel valued and heard. Appreciate others.
  • WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS MORE THAN IN YOUR BUSINESS – Understand that in the beginning you are doing it all. Don’t use that as an excuse to not look at the big picture. Busy doesn’t mean productive. A business will grow as the owner grows. Develop yourself both personally and professionally.
  • HAVE A VISION AND A MODEL TO MAKE IT HAPPEN​ – What does the end look like? (Vision is the future) Define your success.) How will we get there? (Model is the framework you use daily) Take time to plan your future. Don’t allow it to just happen.
  • ADMIT AND LEARN FROM MISTAKES – Admit mistakes then learn from them so you don’t keep making them. Know someone that hasn’t learned their lesson yet.  Don’t allow yourself to be the bottleneck in your business.
  • ASK FOR HELP – Develop this skill because it’s a strength. If you surround yourself with good people you will be inspired to be your best. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. You’re not supposed to know it all.
  • MAKE TIME FOR BREAKS – Daily moments to clear your head and longer breaks to get away from the day-to-day. Your ideas and creativity will flow. We all have different versions of ourselves. (Parent, Spouse or Partner) Allow yourself time to use your creative imagination.

As a business owner and leadership coach/speaker, I learn something every day from my team, customers/clients, peers and suppliers/vendors. These insights help me to better serve my team, customers/clients and community. (Subscribe to receive my weekly behind the scenes insight emails.) The relationships I build, fuel me and my continued passion to serve trade business owners, the trade industries and the good people in it. You can do the same for your business.