This is a guest blog from Elizabeth Hickey. You can contact here here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know the quote – It’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Sometimes it is you that moves the deck chairs and sometimes they are moved for you. The way you react to the changes will influence your outcome. Many times in the last 2 years I have woken up and thought – how are things going to change today. I am a small business owner and I work in the ever changing NDIS sphere, change and risk is inevitable.
Late in 2017 there was a 2 month period, where changes were happening and I thought things were outside of my control. There was a real risk that my dreams of a successful small business were just going to disappear in a slow smouldering wreck. I even believed that as it was changes outside of my control it would not have been my fault. In reality sitting here I can see that those two months were a time where the deck chairs were being rearranged and I needed to decide if I was willing to work with that or stamp my feet and try to keep putting them back in the same spot.
People talk about being agile in business, this is totally true. You need to be aware of what is happening around you, hopefully you can see the changes on the horizon and position yourself so that they don’t affect you; but in reality there will be times when you’re in the middle of the changes and only see them when it is almost too late. Sometimes the plans you make will not work – especially if your business is reliant on other systems to actually happen.
In my case I must be flexible, policies and procedures change overnight or evolve and catch you out, but I have a secret weapon. I am a sole trader and while I am not able to easily fight government policy this I don’t need to sit down with a whole heap of people to discuss change when it is required . I can react and change my business very quickly, which means my business is more flexible than some of the other big businesses out there. This is my secret weapon and one of the reasons I am successful – I can change to suit my market.
At the time and even up until I sat to write this post I have looked at that two months as being outside my control and that I had been blindsided by change. In reality the situation was that while I had taken a huge risk to start the business, I needed to accept that there would be more and more risks each time I needed to make a change.
So what did I learn – it is ok to accept failure may happen, by accepting that it can make taking action to make the changes you need to sustain your business or grow it become easier. Risk is inherent in business; it comes down to how you accept that and use it. By understanding that you have options and one of those options is that the business may fail or close allows you to become more open to taking a risk you may not have taken.
Becoming comfortable with the deck chairs in one spot means that you will either get burnt or don’t get the sun at all and really what fun is that.