At the start of this year, I had all these plans for my businesses - both White Flag and Bare Bones. I had plans for holidays and even just simple things like going out to see more live music. It’s amazing how quickly all of that changed. I think we all still feel a little disorientated by everything going on which is no surprise as restrictions and safety protocols are changing everyday.
I guess I always thought my ‘business journey’, if drawn on a graph, should be one clean line steadily climbing into fame, fortune and retirement. Now it feels like it’d more likely resemble a single line drawing of the elephant man’s face ending in a question mark. At the risk of talking about the pandemic in another email, I’ve been thinking about how I can plan for the future since we’re “living in uncertain times”. (Try and tell me you haven’t used that phrase at least once! Just try!!)
All my usual business planning and goal setting processes seem redundant. None of them took into consideration a global health and economic crisis, and I guess that’s on me for not taking into account the chance of apocalypse.
Instead of trying to think my way through all possibilities and find a quick fix, I’ve tried to just focus on what’s important to me. I’ve asked myself, “What matters and what can I do now?”
So, what does that look like?
For me, it’s meant trimming the fat (figuratively, not literally … lockdown has not been kind to the waistline, amirite?!).
I’m easily distracted by my ‘great ideas’ and I’m under the impression that every one of my new ideas is going to be the next “facebook of our time!” There’s always a new venture I’m thinking about setting up, trying out or looking into. It all takes time and energy and I realised it’s not worth it at the moment.
I decided to step away from all (most of) the side projects and hair-brained schemes I was cooking up to focus on White Flag. I really enjoy what I do and who I work with and that’s what felt important to me.
Bare Bones is the one that made the cut. I decided to keep pushing forward but I’m reevaluating the products I offer and I’m planning to simplify even more in the future. This is a side-project that feels worth the investment in time and energy. It is also a safe place to play out some of my creative curiosities (that wasn’t meant to sound as weird as it did).
So, basically, I’m just going to do what I’ve always done … do less of it … and try and do it better … ? I realise what a lame revelation that is, but for me, it’s been energising.
I’ve realised how lucky I am to have my own business and I want to make sure I build on that and find ways to safeguard it for the future.
This. Now that.
I’m sure you’ve seen it too - businesses who’ve been forced to completely reinvent themselves and others that have branched out into interesting new areas you wouldn’t expect.
From fine dining restaurants turning into fine-takeaway. Distilleries creating hand-sanitizer that smells exactly like their Gin. Clothing labels using their resources to create face masks. There’s been some incredible ingenuity in a really trying time.
There are so many challenges to running a small business, but one of the great things is the ability to make quick decisions and be able to act on them. To change course if need be or to focus and push forward.
What’s next for you and your business? How have you navigated the hot mess that is 2020? Have you been able to stay the course, or have you been forced to find a new path altogether?