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How do you handle it when things go wrong?

by Alison Bradford

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Reality shot – when you’re running your own business things don’t always go smoothly.

In fact, sometimes things go right off the rails and you’re left questioning yourself again about why the hell are you doing this?

Things will go wrong at times.

I know this only too well from my own business.

I work around school and nursery days (my choice), which means I have around 6 hours max of working time each day. (Except Friday’s, I take these off with my youngest until she starts school full time)

This means I have 24 hours a week into which I need to fit my client appointments, networking meetings, marketing activity, admin work and all the other stuff involved in running a business.

And that’s assuming I work at full pelt with no breaks or unproductive time!

Okay, I do work in the evenings sometimes and occasionally at the weekend but, again, that’s my choice. I also get help in some areas.

That is why I have to focus on my own productivity and why I’m so keen to help other business owners work on theirs.

I like to think I’m pretty good at this, but I have learnt (and continue to learn) ways that work for me to get the most out of my time

What my reasonably tight schedule and productive week doesn’t allow for though is when something goes wrong.

One of the areas I get really frustrated with is when technology does not work as it is supposed to.

What about you? What kinds of things go wrong in your business that have you tearing your hair out?

Only this past week my laptop packed up on me again. (It’s been off for repair 3 times now in the last 2 months)

It wouldn’t start up at all. Although there are things I can do on my iPad it’s not the same, and I can’t do everything.

I was feeling very frustrated and annoyed that this had happened and interrupted my plans for the week.

In fact, I was feeling so frustrated that I thought I’d better work through it as I don’t have a cat to kick (of course I would never really kick a cat even if I did have one, just an expression!)

So, I had to try and come out of a crap situation with something good and I reckon that you experience this frustration in your business too, so here’s my 3 steps on how to handle it when something goes wrong. 

 1. What can you do about?

Part of my frustration stems from a lack of control around the situation, and I suspect yours does too. So the first thing to look at is what you can do, rather than what you can’t do.

In my case, that was to ring the company who I contract with to support my laptop and arrange a callout.

Once that was sorted, I looked at the work I had planned to do and figured out what I could still get done and what would have to wait.

So next time something goes wrong in your business, start off by focusing on what you can do about the situation and do it, rather than worrying about what you can’t do.

2. What can you do to reduce the risk of it happening again?

If there’s anything worse than something going wrong then it’s the same thing going wrong repeatedly. Ask yourself what you can do to reduce the risk of it happening again.

You may need to put in a new process or get some specialist support.

I’d already experienced issues with my laptop so had already put in place a process for a regular back up and had taken out a contract for technical support. Although the issue happened again for me, it meant that I wouldn’t lose anything important, except time!

3. What can you learn from it?

There is always more to learn when things go wrong than when things go right, so take a few minutes to reflect on this and consider what the situation has taught you.

I’d already learned that I need specialist support with my laptop so knew who to call straight away.

This time it also reminded me that I can’t control everything, and when things don’t go according to my plan I need to adapt and roll with it.

Leave me a comment below to share any experiences you’ve had of things going wrong, and how you’ve handled it.

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

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