What to Do When Your Business is Heading to Crash
Have you ever been in a situation as a business owner, where you felt like things seemed out of control and headed for disaster? You can’t pinpoint the exact moment in time that led you here, but you woke up one morning and realized that your business was on a slippery slope. Things seemed to be out of focus, more complicated than usual and maybe even a bit overwhelming. You lost sight of your destination and the clear road ahead of you, and now you find that you are blocked somehow but don’t know which direction to go.
What do you do in this situation?
Before I answer that question, let me provide you with a recent example of something I experienced that symbolizes what you might be feeling.
I was driving my car on Deerfoot yesterday. I had a small errand to run and thought that it would be a simple outing. The weather had other intentions. Now, I consider myself a good driver; 30 years without an accident! But yesterday, it was winter driving conditions and visibility was limited at best. I was driving in a manner to which I thought was suitable for the road conditions – 20 km under the speed limit – when the unexpected happened.
There was a seven-car pile-up ahead of me that appeared out of nowhere. The snow had been blowing limiting my visibility. The accident was blocking two out of three lanes of traffic and the cars in front of me were at a complete stand still. Some cars were sideways, some totally smashed, one had two wheels over the left meridian.
My first reaction was to hit the brakes. The ABS kicked in but unfortunately I hit black ice and my car kept sliding forward. I remember telling myself, “Well, it’s inevitable. I am going to crash and there is nothing I can do about it”.
Suddenly my subconscious took control and said, “If I’m going to crash, how can I make the best out of the situation? Maybe there is another option.” I quickly shoulder checked to the left and saw that there was a small opening there. I swerved, and immediately I was in the left-hand lane passing the car I thought I would hit. There was still another car in front of me in this lane and I was still sliding forward on a collision course to hit it. I righted my steering and swerved left again to go into the meridian lane next to the concrete barrier. I proceeded to brake. Finally, I skidded to a halt just as I finished passing the car in the left lane. As I gathered my breath and realized my good fortune, a truck passed me. The guy rolled down his window, gave me a “thumbs up” and said “great driving.” I smiled and gave him a “thumbs up” back.
I thought I would share this story because it shows just how much running a business is like driving a car.
- You WILL lose control | Even if you have been running your business for many years, eventually something is going to happen that will take your control away from you if only for a moment. You will feel overwhelmed and overcome bya sense of uncertainty or loss of control; things will be uncomfortable.
- You ALWAYS have options | Although it may feel like your options are limited, there are always other options available to you. When you are living “in the moment” experiencing all the challenges around you and the pressures of everyday, you can be on sensory overload. Sometimes it is best to take a break from your business, whatever that may look like. It may be a vacation, some private down-time or focusing on a hobby you love. When you get out of the trenches and relax your mind, your subconscious will take over and provide you with the solutions you need.
- TRUST your gut | Sometimes you will need to make quick business decisions, and make them fast. When you find yourself in this type of situation, trust your gut, draw on your past experience. Sometimes as entrepreneurs, we get in our own way. We overthink and over analyze things to death. Let your gut lead the way – if it feels right, then it probably is. If something doesn’t seem right and you find that you are second guessing yourself, then it is not the right decision for you or your business at this time.
- APPRECIATE where you are in life | If there is one piece of advice that I can offer you from my example, it is to appreciate where you are in life right now and how far you have come. Things can change on a dime. Prepare for what lies ahead, but be prepared that you cannot prepare for all things. It is how you handle those situations when they come up, that make you who you are.
I hope that the path in front of you is clear, but if it isn’t, reach out to me. Business planning is something that my team can help out with when the need arises. If you find that you would like more clarity and to be able to see further ahead in your business to protect your assets, check out our profit coaching opportunities.
Give your business back the traction that it deserves.