By Barbara Eldridge

The year has moved in warp speed, I’ve heard many say they are grateful it’s almost over. Weekly as we share challenges and ideas in our Mind Masters groups there are several things that have proven to be big lessons learned.

Getting paid: Several people spent valuable time chasing money, sometimes because they did not have the wording to come across professionally when asking for payment. Sometimes because they waited too long to even send the invoice. The lesson here is asking for what you are worth, but also putting the policies in place (be they contracts, deposits, collections) to make sure you do get paid. Learning smart business practices and applying them in alignment with your values will help you serve more people and you be rewarded for it.

Communicating: WOW! This one trips up everyone. People have allowed themselves to be offended when someone “insults” them or their work, they lost sight of their real mission and made decisions that held them back from performing at what they knew to be their best. The learning here is to learn to communicate chosen words and concepts as “filters” for projecting your greatest intention, into every meeting, decision and interaction you have throughout the day.

Employee challenges: Staffing can challenge the best of us, but there were things that were controllable and others that were not. One client had a series of 5 employees out on pregnancy leave during the year, another had difficulty with a key person taking too much time off. Recognize that people are complex and that problems happen in every work environment even with the very best and most capable of people. You can’t stop Mother Nature, but policies define what works for you; (you can maybe worn people not to “drink the water”)!

Physical challenges: We saw a lot of this, this year, taking care of family, be they young or old is a part of life. Taking care of yourself means doing what it takes to stay healthy. Realize as business owners, flexibility is a part of the job description and it is especially important when the personal part of our lives requires our attention. Remember priorities change, take time to consider what your options are.

Changing marketplace: As small business owners staying flexible is essential, but trying to keep up with the changing needs and wants or taste and preferences among customers’ has created overwhelm. In order to select a strategy, you must ask the right questions – what needs improvement? What does the business have to become (more customer responsive, more visible to the community)? Once you have precise answers to these elementary questions, you can decide upon the strategy you want to adopt.
Not all things are in our control, but those that know me, know that I stress having both short term plans as well as long term strategy plans. But realize at the same time we should also try to draft out contingency plans to deal with a crisis if one arises