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The last straw

Shekhar Varma

Brexit: Opportunity or Threat? Your choice.


The Last Straw


This is my 4th upturn, or at least it soon will be. The last time was 2009 when my business at the time was designing and delivering sales and sales related training to corporate customers. I was working in Paris when the first call came through. “Really sorry but we have had to cancel any external spend” this was the first of many and my business went off the edge of a cliff.

I am not telling you this so you will feel sorry for me after all if I’m writing this I must have survived maybe thrived. I do though want to tell you that I felt bad, I felt useless and of course anxious. I can remember talking to a friend of mine and saying I just wanted to jack it in, maybe get a ‘proper’ job.

Eleven years later here we are again, fear, uncertainty and doubt once again grips the minds of business owners. I know a few and before Corona virus they were in a reasonable happy place getting some payback for their investment in their business in previous years, some had been struggling not with revenue but overwhelmed by all the operational tasks they are now performing keeping themselves and their staff in a manner to which they have all become accustomed and for some of those this has been the last straw.

In the Shirlaws Stages diagram those business owners were on the curve where they meet payback, they feel good about their business, some will be further along and had hit the brick wall. One effect of a crisis is that it projects you forward faster than expected toward that brick wall and if you are already there, you’re going to feel much worse. Energy that should be focused on happy times is deflected toward survival mode, frustration and stress.

I have met a few business owners who are thinking that they will either shut up shop or try and sell the business, with all the implications and stress that will have on the health and wellbeing of you and your staff.

I know what it’s like but thanks to my friend I pulled back. He was able to point out to me that in my business I had already done the heavy lifting. I had all the prerequisites to survive and grow my business and take full advantage of the upturn:

  1. A solid product offering.
  2. A track record of delighted customers.
  3. A supporting network of associates, past clients and suppliers.
  4. Competent staff.
  5. Well-developed channels to market.

If you are through the “heavy lifting” stage but have been projected into the second brick wall all you need do is tick off how many of those prerequisites you have, it only needs 2 -3. Next look at the questions below to get you thinking, planning and changing.

  1. Is my product meeting my customers’ needs in today’s marketplace?
  2. How do I leverage my track record?
  3. What should my communication plan look like, am I connecting with people?
  4. Are all my staff the right staff?
  5. How do I develop new channels to market?

If you’re feeling lost or you can’t yet see the tunnel never mind any light at the end of it: get some help to see if you have these foundations for recovery and growth even if you still decide to sell recapturing the energy that got you into business means you will sell for an awful lot more and along the way you may rediscover that energy you had when you first began.

Shekhar Varma is a Business Coach Powered by Shirlaws if you want some help digging deep into your recovery contact: Shekhar.varma@poweredbyshirlaws.com  OR Call: 07973727803


Shekhar Varma