by Charlotte L. Hanna CCO CMBS Global
There comes a day when every business owner feels ‘The Heat’. It may be financial loss, a customer service issue, an internal ethics situation, or other pressing problem. Whatever ‘The Heat’ – everyone faces it at one time or another. Knowing what to do when the heat is on can prevent you from suffering a meltdown under the stress.
Some businesses are seasonal by the very nature of the business. Others go through a variety of seasons during their existence – some more painful than others. The goal of every small business owner is growth. But even growth can be painful at times.
Seasons of prosperity may or may not be as long-lived as those of financial distress, but even in prosperous times, things can go wrong and uncomfortable situations can arise.
There is absolutely no perfect business and no real perfect season in business. Why? Because business is first and foremost about the human element. And everyone knows that whenever we humans are involved, there is room for error, misjudgment, discomfort, and more.
Your business is a reflection of YOU. Like it or not, as the owner of a business, your humanness and that of those you put in positions of authority, will be exposed from time-to-time. No one is perfect, and therefore no business can be perfect. If perfection is what you strive for in business, here is some information that may surprise you.
Perfection should never be your goal.
From the moment of its inception, to the first day you open your doors to the public (whether as a physical storefront, or online) to the day you retire – your business is going to be whatever you determine to make it. You can set the tone, govern its development, watch over the administration, apply quality customer service, and conduct yourself in an ethical manner. What you cannot do, is see the future, control all of the outside forces that will be part of the daily operations, know all of the answers to every question before revealed, or choose the actions and reactions of others.
So what CAN you do … when no matter what you do … The Heat Is On?
· You can run – but you can’t hide. As with everything else in life, dealing with uncomfortable situations and facing them head-on is the most effective way to get the results you can live with – And a better night’s sleep.
· You can deal with it swiftly and directly. Studies show that the longer something is exposed to a heat source, the sooner it deteriorates.
· You can choose carefully. Words are a wonderful tool, when chosen carefully. Understanding is best accomplished through honest communication, and the best communication usually occurs AFTER the heat of the moment.
· You can learn. Personal growth takes place via a healthy environment, exposure to a variety of experiences, and the provision or availability of education. Look for what can be learned and how you and your business can become stronger when the heat is on.
· You can change. Those who are flexible will bend. Those who cannot or will not bend, usually break. Be certain that you remain flexible and open to the possible benefits change may afford. You may need to enlarge your vision or simply be willing to adapt to another standard. As long as there is no risk of compromise to your integrity or that of your company, the ability to make a change can extinguish a fire before it becomes out of control, and keep its distracting heat from lingering.
What you do when the heat is on will be what others involved remember most about you and your business. Though it would be easy to follow the old adage attributed to Harry S. Truman: “ If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” as a business owner – the better resolve is to make better use of the heat, turn it into something delicious, and serve it up with a professional quality that will guarantee repeat customers.