Focusing On The Things We Can Control in Business

Right now all humans are all united through uncertainty.  Whether you are a business owner, employee or consultant; parent, partner, son, daughter, aunt, uncle; or any title you hold, a lack of certainty has seen us all feel a bundle of emotions.

Like me, you may have noticed that the way we react in uncertain times is vastly different to what we regard as ‘normal’ in our daily lives.

Uncertainty can lead to overwhelm, fear and other feelings that can see us make rash decisions in our quest for survival. It may seem like we have to make decisions quickly (and in some cases, this is warranted); but for the vast majority of matters, a moment of pause is often needed.

In my experience in a field that is filled with decisions and emotion, I have learned that it is important to take a moment to pause and acknowledge that feeling ‘rattled’ or worried in times of uncertainty is OK. Such a moment of compassion and kindness towards ourselves and each other (at the very least) can help bring us to a point of calm and help us look at matters objectively—as opposed to looking through a narrow lens clouded with fear. 

In business, continuing to make calm, considered and well-informed decisions is vital to our long- term sustainability. The choices we make quickly in moments of fear can have long-term implications that can adversely affect our business—which is why taking a moment is vital, even when it seems impossible at the time.

In these challenging times it is important that we take care to stop and think, before we act, and avoid making rash decisions that we may regret when things settle down again. 

Whilst there is plenty to be focused on in terms of business planning and survival, and down-time (or quiet time) can be worrisome for many, I want to take a moment to shine a light on the possibilities that can arise from having some additional time right now to think about what we can resolve.

By focusing on the things we can control (our actions) rather than the things we can’t (such as what is going on in the world right now), we can make objective decisions and often navigate our way through uncertainty.

As you take focus on your business during this time, ask yourself what problems have you been putting off dealing with in your business? If you addressed these now and worked on what you can control, how would this support your long-term sustainability?

What third party (contractor/purchaser/client) has disputed payment or taken issue with something related to your business? If you focused on mediating this issue now, how would this support your long-term sustainability?

Have you been intending to get your business or website terms and conditions prepared, or look at the need for a privacy policy? If you got these matters sorted now, how would this support your long-term sustainability?

What can you control now to help you maintain just one stable footing during external uncertainty.

If you are faced with some down-time (or quite time) as we move to a period of social distancing, do you have an opportunity to use your time in ways that will help put your business in the best possible position to move forward when things settle?

Some possibilities include:

·       Analyse the issue that is weighing on your mind – really think it through. What do you want to achieve?

·       If you need to get something started (such as your service agreement, your business terms and conditions, or your website terms and conditions), then make the call to your lawyer, or if you don’t have one, connect with one that suits you and arrange a time to discuss what you need (virtually, or by phone).

·       If you need to deal with an issue that has been sitting around for a while, gather your documentation (invoices, emails, letters, text messages).

·       Pick a task that you have been putting off and plan your approach.

·       Assess where you may need advice to help your business. Do you need legal advice? If you do, get it now. Knowing where you stand, and where the strengths and weaknesses are in your position can be hugely empowering.

·       Assess the way you are communicating with your clients through the period of uncertainty. Is email best, or could you pick up the phone and have a discussion? If both parties are willing, arrange a video conference (I use Zoom and find it incredibly reliable and efficient). It can be beneficial to see the face on the other end of the line.

·       Identify issues that need to be resolved. Be prepared to listen to the other party, and be flexible in your approach. If you really are going to use this time wisely to resolve outstanding issues, having an open mind and letting go of rigidity has the potential be effective in moving the issue forward.

If you are concerned that the issue requires some assistance to move forward, consider engaging a mediator or another independent third party to assist. Often the costs associated with this process are a small investment in return for the certainty that you will gain from resolving the matter.   

These ideas may be helpful in empowering you to focus on what you can control now, to help keep you from being caught up (or bogged down) in the things you can’t. If you are able to resolve just one item that has been sitting on your to-do list for far too long, now may just be the perfect time to tackle it and tick it off.

If you think I may be able to help you in any way, please reach out. I am more than happy to chat to discuss your needs, or help clarify your options.”

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For more information on Tracey Mylecharane and the services she provides, please visit her website at here

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This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to a practising lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Legally Yours Pty Ltd accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.

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