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Facing Insecurity in Your Business

I think of being with my grandfather more than 30 years ago. Business was hard work but incredibly satisfying. His work was on his land, behind his home, next to his daughter’s house. He took his lunch with him on the tractor or went back to the house for a break. His job was physically tiring, mentally satisfying and simple. He grappled with his own challenges in business, but many were drastically different from those faced by workers today.

The times have vastly changed in 30 years, and wellness businesspeople must examine their choices to avoid becoming caught up in a dehumanized world that devalues the human touch and connection. It is still plausible to empower the client and continue to be profitable and competitive. However, the business challenges we face today are often hard to define and even harder to conquer. They are slippery and elusive. As a body-mind professional, life coach, manager or studio owner, you experience many of these challenges yourself or see them manifested as problems in your clients.

One major problem area is insecurity. The good news is that with each challenge comes opportunity ─ the exciting prospect of managing it and using it in your favor. Here’s how you can do that.

Life is insecure, uncertain and fragile. Business is the same. When business is booming, you are stressed with the pressure to keep up and stay ahead of your customers’ needs. When business is slow, you are nervous about not making enough money. You feel like a child on the playground teeter-totter. You are flying high one minute and slapping the ground the next. No one is guaranteed a job, a pension or social security. What are some challenges within this area, and how can you face them?

The Drive to Succeed and Keep Up
Businesses today are on an inclined, high-speed treadmill. We’ve moved from the farm to the market and gotten stuck in overdrive. We face an unrelenting pressure to be successful, profitable and ahead of the next guy. Nothing ever seems to be enough.

Instead of worrying about the apparently successful business next door, hold the mirror up to your own. Comparing yourself to the competition on an annual basis is a wise move, but continually rating yourself based on what others are doing is futile. Keep a watch on professionals in your industry and stay aware of the trends in global business, but spend the majority of your time creating the best business structure for you. Define success on your terms, and get off the preset program on the treadmill. The business next to you may need to be running at 12 miles per hour based on its needs, but 4.5 miles per hour may be the perfect speed for yours.

Action Steps: Define success for your business. What does it look, smell, taste, feel and sound like? Quit fretting about the business next door. Discover what your customers need and want, and give it to them to the best of your ability.

Fluctuating Income
The realities of business are that monthly and yearly incomes fluctuate, especially if you run your own business. Corporate incomes also fluctuate, determining next year’s raises, hiring decisions and layoffs.

You will always have factors you cannot control, so closely control the ones you can. Base your expenses on the amount you can safely count on bringing in per month, and accumulate any extra income in your business account. For example, if I know based on last year’s income that I can count on depositing $4,000 per month, I base my monthly budgets on that figure. If I bring in $5,000 in September and $5,500 in October, I have accumulated $2,500 extra in my account. Then, when I want to take 1-2 weeks off in December and I deposit only $2,700 that month, I subtract the extra $1,300 I need from my surplus to make my budget work. In other words, always cover your back!

Action Steps: Plan on having a fluctuating income, and calculate your business expense plan based on a safe guarantee. Accumulate extra money in your account to use during slow months.

Realizing You Are Replaceable
Many delusional people in the business world think they are irreplaceable. As a result, they slack off in their work and become arrogant and apathetic. Although each of us is one of a kind, someone else would be willing to step in and do a comparable job for less money. Plus, many companies today fail to see the incredible value in a 50-plus-year-old worker who has wisdom and experience that a younger person does not yet have. Business owners think saving money by hiring recent graduates and retiring 50-year-olds is the “smart” thing to do. Companies may think that workers older than 50 are very replaceable.

In business, you cannot afford to let your guard down and your standards slide. You have to stay abreast of the trends in your work, stay educated, be a person of integrity and offer value.

Action Steps: Remind yourself that you are replaceable in the business world. Find a coach, friend or colleague to be accountable to on a weekly or monthly basis. Ask yourself: How can I continue to use my wisdom, experience and training to add value to this business?

Lack of Control
A complaint I hear from many people in business is that they have no control over the responsibilities of businesses and players they depend on. Realtors rely on mortgage companies and title companies to get their end of the work done to be able to close a sale on time. Companies depend on their leaders to be honest, truthful and ethical. We are an interdependent economy and will always need each other. Because of that, we must choose our partners carefully. If you hire a cleaning service for your wellness center, interview the representative as carefully as you would a new employee. View every partner in business as you would a potential employee. A partner’s reputation will either bless you or come back to haunt you.

Action Steps. Create a list of the people and things that affect your business. For those over which you have little control, create criteria they should meet to be included in your business. Begin your evaluations. Find new team members if necessary.

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