7 Ways To Prepare For and Deal With Big Unexpected Setbacks
Nothing New – The Universe hands Us Another Whammy – A few practical things to Get Ahead of The Curve so Your Business Survives and Thrives in an Uncertain Future
Before the Coronavirus Pandemic and lockdown wiped a mass of business overnight, and friends across the globe lost livelihoods, we had been thinking about what kind of business and strategy, is going to work best in a not-too-distant future, on a planet that is increasingly chaotic and handing out the unexpected. This is what got us through.
In quiet times when not “bombarded by noise” and “being sold to” (seldom nowadays), most of my friends and colleagues seem to have a sense that the frequency of good things is increasing exponentially (e.g., awareness of global issues and desire to make the world better), and the frequency of bad things (e.g., pandemics, climate change, floods, income gaps, global migration) are also increasing exponentially. Time to act feels short and the stakes are high. Exponential changes whether good or bad will mean the unexpected (good and bad) will happen more frequently and you do not need rocket science to know this has big implications for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Businesses of any size.
In hindsight a few things are obvious.
Whatever the cause of the pandemic, whether you believe it is nature hitting back, climate change, made in a lab, etc… it is all hindsight, and the reasons do not matter in moving forward. The reality is we must live with symptoms and outcomes, and it is a waste of valuable energy and willpower (limited daily dose we are given) debating the reasons and conspiracy theories – it is just a distraction that saps energy, kills free-thinking and creativity.
Uncertainty, an unpredictable future, potential positive or negative outcomes, all go with the territory of life! Balance and routine go against the laws of nature – chaos and continual change is a law of nature.
Chaos and turmoil are nothing new. Two examples. In 1939 around the start of WWII Europeans learned quickly that what you have can be taken quickly, and in Zimbabwe 1996 (The breadbasket years) no one could imagine that by 2002 your cash would devalue in the time it took to walk from the back of the store to the till – true story!
2020-21 we have a lockdown, billions of people on the planet, and limited resources – so yeah, the unexpected is hitting the fan with increasing frequency.
What follows is not an all-encompassing list. These are things you should be doing all the time. Make them a habit. There are no quick fixes (unless you win the Lotto) but implementing what follows will make a big dent in getting you ready for the next big whammy, or massive opportunity in your market, the universe hands out.
1. Develop a Peace of Mind Mindset
I mentioned above an “unpredictable future”. So do not try to predict just your best in everything. Peace of mind in all areas of one’s life comes from doing things to the best of your ability for the best possible outcome, but not living moment to moment with the expectation of that outcome being positive or negative (hope or worry). With this mindset comes a semblance of peace and the ability to get on to the next thing you must do. This approach also helps build momentum, a key component of success.
2. Get into a habit of creating educational content
When the unexpected happens, people crave more information and get upset with you if they give up time and cannot find it. As a business, you can help provide this information to earn the trust and attention of your existing customers and target audiences. When things get under control and people adjust to the new normal, they will remember you as a source of good, reliable, as-accurate-as-possible, and positive information.
So, make an extra effort in troubled times to put out timely, accurate, useful information. People are hungrier for education now than they ever have been before, and they are turning to the internet to find it all the time and for longer periods. No matter how small or big your venture is, without your very own educational content strategy, the bedrock of your marketing and sales strategy, you cannot move forward properly, it is like trying to drive a car with a slipping clutch. So, use a little bit of your daily willpower dose to develop the habit of creating educational content – it takes time so just start now. The mental exercise bonus here comes concerning Neural Plasticity – as an adult-use your mind or lose it.
3. Be a leader and take control
When things break, there is a crisis or turmoil, who do you think people turn to, and who do you think they remember when things return to a “new normal”, or the next time there is a big problem? So basically, become a leader in your own life, take ownership, stop speculation, gossip, and procrastination. Become an advocate for appreciation and hope. Remind your friends, family, and customers that from adversity comes opportunity and get them going. Be a leader.
4. Do not allow yourself to be debilitated or frozen by financial disaster.
Most Entrepreneurs, small businesses, start-ups live always with financial pressure to a greater or lesser degree. When the money and finances go haywire, the credit card companies, banks, insurance, vehicle lease people might give you a break, or maybe not.
Your Priority should be to stay in control of your budget, communicate, face the problem areas head-on. This will require allocating some additional time.
Do not give energy to commitments or discussions or agreements that you cannot honour with certainty. Be honest truthful and decent, then move on. Failure in business or financial issues has nothing to do with your worth as a person.
Tighten your belt, pay for shelter, food, water, energy, phone, internet, staff if you can, and only after that, deal with creditors and banks. Some of them are going to shout loud and threaten but you cannot do what you cannot do, so just give them zero energy, they will survive, and you will get to deal with it eventually and with something sensible. Now get on with your life and business – just do it!
5. Upgrade Skills, Stay on Top of The Tech, and Find a Mentor to Run Alongside You
If you cannot employ dynamic people, that know more than yourself and take care of the how-to, then best you get over any tech phobias you have and learn how to get online and distribute your stuff.
As a one-person show with little technical knowledge, you risk giving a lot of precious time and money to social platform owners and online advertising with little or no return. It is crazy to go it alone – put some big effort into finding a mentor or coach you can trust and has technical skills and intuition above the average – finding this person is going to be a critical success make or break factor.
6. There is probably a ton of other things you can do, but not in an advice vacuum!
You will have specific issues and circumstances that have not been addressed in this post, and there will be solutions and answers out there. Do not sit alone or in your usual environment with the same people and opinions, that is not the way to address things. Find someone impartial, with knowledge and other life experience, that you can trust and who is not going to just tell you what you want to hear.
Be careful – our brains have a way of fooling us into finding people to support bad ingrained habits – feel good does not always mean knowledge, experience, or right. Hearing uncomfortable stuff does not always mean they are wrong. It is called learning and growing vs fixed ideas and proving you are right.
7. Don’t Procrastinate and Do the Work
Just do it! – I will say it again – a little bit each day to get the snowball rolling – (Here are some reasons for Procrastination)