How has your new year started? Are we all kicking goals? Or, did you decide that goals wouldn’t serve you well this year (they’re often abandoned right about now). I’ll save my sermon about the need to have a good business plan, and goals, for another day. Today I want to talk about the plan you simply must do now – when you’re thinking you’ll never need it.
Let me tell you a story…. Once upon a time there was a woman who started a small business in her kitchen. She was pretty savvy. She knew how to chase business and media. She knew how to grow her brand. It was all growing swimmingly, until it wasn’t.
Employing others stopped.
Timely payment of bills stopped.
She never expected to stop. She was extremely lucky to have a partner who was able to keep things going. She didn’t think she’d ever stop, especially under terms that were outside of her control (like depression). She thought she was like the Duracell Bunny and just keep banging the drum no matter what she encountered. She was wrong because her body made her stop.
Of course, the woman is me, and if you know about my Billie Goat Soap story then you’ll be very familiar with this plot line. Just Google my name for all the goss. Now that I work as a small business coach and mental health advocate I am often asked if, given all I know now, I might have done things differently back then. I always struggle to answer! Part of me trusts that I was meant to have this journey exactly as it has unfolded (did you see my pic sitting in on the Small Business Mental Health Parliamentary Round Table last month?) but most of me now realises things would have been much different if I could go back and apply all the good things I now know about business owner fortitude.
Looking back, the thing that affected me the most was a misguided belief that poor mental health would never affect me. Using some twisted logic I thought that admitting I was having dark thoughts was the same as admitting I was a terrible business person. I thought the answer was about working on the business but in fact the answer was about working on me.
What I know now is that I am the most valuable asset to my business. Just me.
I have to keep myself primed to ensure I get the most from my business. I should be on the balance sheet!
This leads me to sharing with you the plan you need when you don’t need a plan. You need to do it today. Right now. If you’re thinking you don’t need it, or don’t have the time right now to do it that’s a sign you need to do it RIGHT NOW. It’s about keeping your most valuable asset functioning. It’s about risk management. It’s about making a profit and keeping the business doors open. It’s the Small Business Owner Mental Health Plan. It’s right here waiting for you to complete it. Yes – you. Yes – even if, right now, you know you don’t need it. Even if you’re convinced you’ll be fine without it. Even if you don’t believe it will ever help you. Do it right now.
Why? Let me explain:
– It’s the best contingency planning tool available.
– It provides a space for you to be absolutely honest with yourself and not have to share that with anyone.
– The steps around identifying support people and planning for missing work is like developing your own personal insurance cover but without the financial premium.
– It’s fairer for your friends and family when times are tough. The plan encourages you to identify a wing-man (person?) who can support you unconditionally if needed. It recommends that you tell that person (when all is going well) that you have identified them on your plan. That allows them the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out depending on their own situation. It’s unfair to go to these people when times are tough without forewarning them because then they may feel they cannot opt-out of helping you even if they themselves might need help. Better to give people choice when there is choice available!
Next week on my various social media channels I am going to spend time each day explaining a different part of the plan. Feel free to lurk along and complete your own plan today. Now why are you still here? Get to it – get that plan finished today.