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How do you stay positive when you are running a business?

December 2021Helen

I remember writing a blog during the last recession several years ago entitled “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Challenging words for the potential challenges that lay ahead. Recessions see businesses fall by the wayside but there are always winners too, those who maximise on the opportunities that change present them. And that’s definitely been the case for businesses recently as we’ve all seen many changes with Brexit and COVID-19 over the past two years.

What’s prompted me to write this blog was a reflection this week that people are just generally fed up of it all. It’s probably the media panicking us all about the new variant, and the Government introducing new measures and the worry whether we are indeed going to have a family Christmas this year again. It’s all of those things obviously, but it’s also more than that, it’s the daily struggle we all face, where just about everything you do seems to be difficult? Why isn’t anything straight forward any more?

The negativity that abounds can sometimes drag you down when you run a business. You read it in the newspapers, you hear it on the news on TV, you hear people moaning, you order something and it goes wrong, you meet the grumpy drivers on the road or the train is late, again, we all experience some of these annoyances every day. So how can we stay positive when we are constantly being dragged down by negativity and the things that surround us?

As a business owner, I feel it is my responsibility to motivate my staff and motivate my customers (we are a marketing company after all!). Quite a big ask when all of them have many different needs and I don’t think I succeed all of the time! It helps having a half glass full personality. If your glass is always half empty then you are probably really going to struggle. But that said, it’s still hard and it can drag you down. It helps if you surround yourself with good people. I’m very fortunate at FIG to have a fantastic team who have all stepped up this year in the face of adversity. We have a real team ethic at FIG and it is at times like this when having the backing of your staff is really important.

I also like to break things down into manageable chunks and change the things that are not working in my life or business until they are more manageable. I also try not to sweat the small stuff. I’ve recently stressed about our empty office building as FIG has had to work from home for about 18 months. Since we’ve come back in September we’re now working with a more flexible approach with a combination of working from home and the office. Working from home might be convenient, but working from the office helps us to be more collaborative, to share ideas, but it’s also more sociable and it’s good to reinforce our FIG values, which has always been important to us. With this new flexibility I decided to utilise parts of the building FIG had taken over, such as our formal board room and large staff room and kitchen. FIG still has a meeting room, kitchens and somewhere to have lunch, so it seemed extravagant to have areas that wouldn’t be used a great deal. These areas have been converted back into office space that we can rent out to other businesses. Sometimes, it’s about thinking outside the box and looking at what you can control and action, rather than worrying about things out of your control.

But what about the late train and the grumpy drivers on the road? These are daily irritations that very often you cannot control and have to manage. Unless they are causing you severe problems, I try not to sweat the small stuff and try not to let it affect my whole day. If it is affecting you however, then it’s time to try and do something about it. Can you get to work in a different way or at a different time to try and take the stress out of the situation? Working from home two or three times a week can help for example.

The big stuff such as the economy is harder to ignore! But there is often a way and maybe you just have to think differently, look at what is working for your business and what isn’t, and put all your efforts and focus on those opportunities that are working. Things rarely stay the same and economic difficulties often speed up what was going to happen anyway, or for many create other opportunities. Sometimes it’s about seeing things differently or seeing the bigger picture to be able to recognise them. Staying positive is about taking every situation and making something out of it, even if it started off negative.

I was talking with a client recently and they were telling me how they respond the same day to client enquiries with quotes and samples if necessary. Their customers have told them that this fast response helped to win them the business in the first place, particularly when others were slow to respond. This efficiency has been reflected in their marketing messages to reinforce the benefits of choosing their products.

There’s no doubt, it’s a challenging time, but taking time to step back and think strategically, and keep actively marketing will all make a difference in your business and help you to stay positive. FIG is offering a free one hour strategy session in 2022 to talk through business marketing challenges. They’ve worked superbly in the past and on occasion there’s been a light bulb moment which can be really gratifying. If you want to take advantage of one of these free sessions, email [email protected] now.

In the meantime, stay safe, and stay positive.

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