Be the steady hand on the tiller. Lead.

3rd April 2017

Gavin Preston

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A message to those who are concerned and seeing tightening market conditions in their business: Be the steady hand on the tiller.

This week with the formal issuing of the Article 50 letter to Brussels there is a lot of debate in the media, and inevitably the voice of concern chimes louder, increasing worry and uncertainty.

When things don’t go your way, when you don’t win that new client, you lose an existing client, lose a key member of your team, a supplier lets you down at the worst possible time, a customer is late paying your invoices or doesn’t pay your invoices, when raw material prices increase and your profit margin is squeezed, when bit by bit you see one of these factors building on top of one another like dark storm clouds building on the horizon it is understandable that your level of anxiety may rise.

In my blog “Good News, Bad News, Who Knows?” last week, I led with an image of a quote “What does it mean?”. The key point of the blog was that you not only have a choice about the meaning you associate to things, you absolutely need to consciously choose a meaning that will serve you.

I have seen this happening with a number of businesses over recent months.  Before they know it they are calling for a reduction in spend in marketing, training and travel to client meetings and other cut backs.  Before they know it they are in survival mode. Then, as they look around, they notice other businesses in the market place are doing the same.

Yes, there is a time to retreat, regroup and come out with renewed vigour but do so purposefully as opposed to retreating into a dark corner hoping the storm will pass.

If you are at sea and the storm clouds are building on the horizon there is nowhere to retreat to.  You need to prepare your vessel and the crew for the storm clouds barrelling your way and ready yourself to safely navigate through the passing wind, waves and rain.  You need to grab the wheel, grab the tiller and be the steady, skilled and determined hand on the tiller as you sail the fine course between safety and progress.

My point is that the answer has to be more than just cut costs and retreat.

The answer has to be to proactively go out there and chase down leads, talk with your customer base, look for ways to innovate, to deliver more value and to come up with a solution that no one else in your market has thought of. Lead not cower.

The answer has to be to think!  I don’t know if you are like me but I think best when bouncing ideas off others. If so, gather the creative, positive, can-do people around you whenever you have a setback.  Choose the meaning to the setback….think of it as a “call forward”, a call for you to come up with innovative, purposeful solutions that will move your business and customers forward.

There is a great story that the day Gandhi’s advisors told him that he had twice as much to do, so there was not time for him to meditate. Gandhi replied that if he had twice as much to do, he had better meditate for twice as long.

Whether your meditation is walking the dog, taking a walk around the block with a coffee cup in hand, going for a run, listening to a piece of uplifting music or sitting in your favourite chair and looking out of your window (or indeed meditating!)….take the time to do two things:

  • Tell yourself that everything is going to be ok. Nobody is going to die from this.
  • Ask yourself the question “what are the ways in which we can turn this into the best opportunity for our business and a time of growth?”

There is always a way.

Trust. Innovate. Make a difference.

p.s. We are running a one-day event on 3rd May in Cardiff.  This is a day around Growth, Technology and Finance.  You will hear from me and other leading experts in the fields of Data fuelled growth, Cash & Funding, Strategic Trends and options for exit.

There will also be a Growth Panel where you can pose your questions to every day business owners like you and what they have done to overcome challenges and deliver growth.   We are calling this day “G Day”…….Growth Day.  You will be educated, inspired, have renewed focus with clear strategies and make some good contacts.

Save the date and join us on 3rd May in Cardiff and join us for “G Day”.

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