140 days and counting
For 20 weeks – 140 days – most of the people I work with have been in lockdown.
For most of those days I’ve been in touch with them on Zoom calls.
I’ve heard what each of them has been through.
How they’ve coped with the fear and panic of the early days.
How they’ve coped with isolation or being cooped up with family members.
How they’ve cared for elderly parents or homeschooling children – often both.
How they’ve managed to keep their businesses going while struggling with lack of concentration, exhaustion, loss of purpose and the ever present fear of uncertainty.
More than anything I’ve seen how they’ve cared for each other, turning up on calls when they didn’t feel like talking, just to smile and say a friendly word to each other and to listen to what others had to say.
The generosity of my community has blown me away.
Small words of encouragement, sympathy, admiration, and most importantly, recognition, have made a huge difference.
Knowing that we’re not alone in the way we feel has made a huge difference.
This week, someone dared to suggest we all had a weird sense of humour.
It sounds a bit strange to have laughed our way through a lot of our calls – but weird? I mean who doesn’t talk about fat hedgehogs, crazy frogs, dancing goats and crazy sparrows?
The whole experience has been life changing. None of us will ever be the same again and our relationships with each other has deepened in a way that only shared experiences can have.
What comes next?
Now we’re starting to think about what comes next and there’s one thing I’m sure of: there’s no going back.
By running our own businesses we have chances that many people don’t. We have a chance to make every day count, to work on things that bring us joy, to work with clients and associates that enrich all of our lives and in our own small ways to make the world a better place.
The way I work with people won’t change but by understanding what you’ve just been through and what differences you want to make I’ll be an even better mentor and coach than I was before.
You can read about the changes I’ve experienced and what I’m doing about them here on my Medium blog.
Back to basics
While there’s no going back, some things are timeless.
The things you need to run a good business are the same now as they were in 578AD when Kongo Gumi, the oldest, continually operating company in the world was started. (Its a construction company specialising in Buddhist temples and was run by the same family for 1,400 years.)
The enduring things that every business owner needs to manage well are:
And all of these things need to be related to your goals:
- How much do you want to work?
- How much do you want to earn?
- How many sales do you need to make your earnings goal?
- How much time and money will you invest in marketing to get the sales you need?
- How much of the processes will you automate so that you can do the things you really enjoy?
- How much time will you spend on planning each day/ week/ month/ quarter/ year?
If you’re wondering how to plan when you don’t know what’s going to happen, we’ll cover that as well.
To quote my friend and colleague David Brown – someone who has sailed through the past four months and helped many other people through it too – we’ll learn to dance with uncertainty!
Basics with a twist
The posts that follow this one will all be about the basics of running a business – just as all my posts since 2005 have been – but the new ones will have a different flavour.
They’ll each feature a real live live example of someone running a small business and doing these things really well, so you’ll get practical examples not just of what to do but how to do them, and the effect they have.
And because the pandemic has re-ignited my “make the world a better place” desire there will be a lot of references to values and efforts to do the right things in the right way.
If that’s not your thing right now, feel free to follow me on Medium for more personal / philosophical posts.
If you want to crack on with your business and be inspired as well as informed I hope you’ll stick around!
If you’re one of the many people who has responded to my posts just to say hello – thank you! If you have specific questions I’m happy to answer those too! Just reply or email me
Time to move on!