Thanks for starting to read this, and right about now you are probably thinking, this is a strange topic for Graham to be writing about, after all isn’t he always full of great ideas and suggestions on how to grow, prosper and expand?
Yes, you are right, it is an unusual topic, and the motivation behind this month’s article, is that over the last few months I have spoken with so many clients who are “Doing It Tough” and it is for this reason I want to openly talk about some personal experiences, and hopefully throw some light on some on the steps you can take.
A large part of this article will assume that you are a business owner, though most of it will also apply to anyone who chooses to read it.
Firstly, as a business owner, let me congratulate you, by choice, you have chosen to throw away the security blanket of working for someone else, at the end of your week nobody is going to put a fat pay envelope in your hand, or pay you to take holidays. This choice, as scary as it can be for the vast majority of the population, is the one you and I have chosen, and ultimately it is up to us, to make it work or fail. The flexibility to implement our ideas, have downtime when we choose, and the ability to generate significant rewards, is all ours, and personally I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our choice may not have been the easiest decision we have made, but it is ours and up to us to make it work.
Ok, let’s get back to business, many years ago I owned and operated several very successful retail based businesses. These businesses enabled me to do everything that I ever wanted to do at that point in my life, lots of holidays, racing Porsches on weekends, ski trips at random, as mentioned almost anything I wished for was mine. Great times and yes I spent like there was no tomorrow.
Sadly in business tomorrow’s do become today, and with it accountability, something that many business owners have trouble understanding and accepting. There can be many reasons why we are having difficulty, some of the most popular are, the government is doing nothing to help us, the banks don’t understand my business, my staff are lazy, the weather etc. etc etc. I write this from experience, as many years ago I used all of the above.
When we are doing it tough, with what seems like “No Light at the End of the Tunnel” we are in many cases operating out of fear, fear of losing my business, my prestige, my home and maybe even your credibility. Fear is a horrible place to live in, and as it also one of the most powerful emotional forces out there, really starts pushing you towards irrational decisions. A famous quote is, “When Your Emotions Go Up, Your Intelligence Goes Down”. It is this fear, we must control if we are to get back to our rational state, the only state that will enable us to once again sit back and take stock of what can be done to assist.
I’m not saying it is easy, but then nothing we have ever achieved is. What I want you to do is to take some time out, maybe an hour, maybe a day or two. During this period, I need you to look at all the events that you are responsible for that have lead up to your current predicament, and you need to be totally honest with yourself. You and I cannot change what others are responsible for, the sooner you realise you can’t allow yourself to lay blame on anyone else, the quicker you can move forward.
You need to have a grasp on all financial aspects of your business costings, profit margins etc, as once you have this, you immediately know exactly where you are, and it is from here you can start your plan back to where you want to be.
The most important aspect of this whole article is that you cannot allow yourself to being operating out of nothing but fear, especially fear of the unknown. The moment you start taking control and accepting accountability you move from an emotional state into a rational state and it is here you can seriously take control.
Fifteen years ago, I almost lost everything, inc for a very brief period my life, today I run a very successful business consulting firm and an internationally based import export business, I have a wife who loves me, 3 boys that make me proud every day of my life and a small furry friend Yoda May the Chihuahua. This only happened because I chose to accept responsibility and made myself accountable.
You Can Do It and I would be pleased to hear from anyone who is “Doing It Tough”
Graham Lock is the managing director of retail focused business consultants based out of the Gold Coast Queensland and covering much of Australia.