Today I’m pondering the question of what to do about a business setback I experienced last week.  It was a small setback, but a business interruption just the same.  As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get discouraged especially if you’ve been in business for a while.  You figure at some point your business should run smoothly without any issues.  Take it from me, there’s no such animal.  Your business is just like your personal life, you really don’t know what to expect, and last week was one of those moments.

Cleaning up Spilled Milk in Your Business

I often advise many of my clients on what to do when things go wonky and my 30+ years experience as a manager and restaurateur makes me almost an expert on spilled milk and how to mop it up before you drown in it.

One of the first things you’d want to do is “Don’t Panic!”.  Panic leads to insane, irrational decisions that you will surely be sorry for later.

2. Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk.  I swiped this from an article posted on the SBA blog.  They’ve got a great list of how to handle your milky situations.

3. Try to find the root of the problem.  Tracing the results back to the beginning will help you make plans or avoid the situation so it doesn’t repeat (there have been many times I went for a 3-peat before I figured this one out).

4.  If you have employees, be frank and discuss the situation with them.  You’d be surprised how much your team can help because they can see much more than you think. They will offer their opinions and, as a team, you can most likely work out a plan to help you overcome the situation.  They have a vested interest in the business because they know their jobs could be at risk if you don’t find a solution.  If your situation calls for it, you may want to discuss the issue with your vendors and customers as well.

5. Embrace Change.  This is especially important to business owners who have been around a while.  Change is one of the hardest things for business owners to accept, especially when it involves how they get new business and retain current customers. It’s like the 1990’s called and wants that Yellow Pages Ad  back…  If you don’t want to use better marketing strategies in your business, you’re going to be really busy moppin’ up milk…

6. Ask For Help.  Asking for help is not an admittance that you don’t know what you’re doing.  It’s reaching out to the experts who can offer solid advice on how best to handle your current setback and get you back on the road to “normal” as possible.

7. Turn your situation into a positive.  I know, I know, this may seem impossible at the moment…  but here are a few examples:

  • Write a blog post or article about your experience so that others can learn from it.
  • This is a good time to finish that financial plan you started long ago.
  • Log what happened and what you did to overcome the situation.  This is helpful for next time or to prevent a “next time”.Don't be afraid to Ask for help

Well, I’ve got to go deal with my own small setback.  Taking my own advice, I’m sure that I’ll have the situation resolved before the end of the week.

Maybe next time I’ll write about what happened and my solution to overcome the situation.



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