How to Anything-Proof Your Business
What’s the worst thing that could happen to your business and how are you preparing yourself? Seriously - stop reading and check-in with yourself for a sec.
Last week my instagram account glitched and I temporarily lost 80% of my content. It was awful. I didn’t realize it was my worst nightmare until it happened. So much of my voice, my message and let’s be honest - my past year’s worth of effort was in those posts.
If you just rolled your eyes or thought, ‘its really not a big deal’ - I get it. Social media maybe isn’t real life to you. But as someone who bases a lot of their business online - it was catastrophic. It was also the dose of reality I needed to move a little further, faster, to make some things happen.
We can’t control A LOT of things - social media outages, computer crashes, recessions, injuries, negative reviews - but we can control what happens after. And how well we prepare ourselves so the aftermath is less jarring. I firmly believe that Doing Success Boldly requires planning and systems. And a glass or two of rose if things go sideways.
Computer Crashes: I think this goes without saying, but backup your computer to an external hard drive. I don’t know much about technology or IT, but I know enough to do this. I am also a HUGE fan of working on cloud-based programs such as Google Docs and DropBox. Not only do these program crash-proof my data, it allows me to work anywhere. I have a running document in Google Docs that I can edit on my computer, cell phone and tablet - so not only am I crash proof, I am mobile and can write/edit/do whenever inspiration hits!
Social Media Crashes: If I learned one thing during my great, Thanos-like snap and disappearance last week it was this - I don’t OWN any of my content or followers on IG. If I want to remain connected to these people, I need to have an email/subscriber list. You’ve probably heard that buzz word a lot lately - “Subscriber” - but it really is everything because it allows you to communicate with your people on your terms.
Starting to build a subscription list takes time, focused energy, and yes, an incentive for people to sign-up. But it’s SO worth it. So much so, I’ll be doing a whole post and possibly course on this in the coming months.
Recession: This is a big one. When the economy dips people are hesitant to spend money on things they don’t need. So you need to make yourself invaluable. You need to make your services, whether it’s personal training, group fitness studios, photography, coaching, so integral to their life that they literally cannot live without you.
When I left my job as a corporate attorney, I was unemployed for a while and determined to figure it out on my own, without help from then my fiance or parents. I put myself on a budget and cut out tons of extraneous expenses. The only things that stayed? My cell phone and my Equinox membership. Really truly, I figured I could sort the rest out later. But I NEEDED my phone (duh) and my workouts to survive unemployment.
Why did I keep Equinox? It was a service I couldn’t get any other way. They knew me and I was part of the community. Fitness was (is) part of who am I. I couldn’t live without it.
Become part of your clients business + life. Their livelihood is also yours. Become so integral that nothing, not even tough times, will keep them from you. More on this topic coming soon also!
Injuries + Personal Leave: In a career where our job is our work, injuries can be catastrophic. While they can’t be prevented entirely, maintenance and recovery can help mitigate them. I sound like a broken record saying this - but you can’t pour from an empty cup! You must take care of yourself! Stretching, foam rolling, epsom salt baths, rest days, voice rest, you name it, you need to be doing it!
You also have to be able to step away when something is tweaked or doesn’t feel right. I remember pushing an old injury for the sake of prepping for a big photoshoot and in turn I re-injuring myself for months. Not worth it for a minute. Be willing to lift lighter, modify your workouts, or rest all together when something doesn’t feel right.
Lastly - don’t be afraid to sub-out a class in those instances things just aren’t right. Studio owners you MUST be willing to let your instructors take the time they need. Instructors - it’s just a class or two for your wellbeing.
Negative Reviews: One bad review can ruin your day, sure, but it won’t ruin your business. You’re not going to be for everyone, and chances are, that person was having a bad day for an unrelated reason and took it out on you. I see it all the time in studio settings especially. Fair? No. So now what?
If you chose, address the negative review head-on with a reply and an opportunity to make it right. Most people like to be heard and seen and this will be enough to alleviate the situation. If it’s on a public forum like Yelp, people like to see the business taking responsibility and offering to make it right. That in itself is usually enough to neutralize the problem.
If the situation was based on staff error or you made a mistake (and it happens!) own it. We’re all human. We all mess up. Take responsibility. Assess the situation with the offending party, document it it necessary, and move on.
Moral of the story today: $h!t happens. It’s hard to stay positive while you’re in it, but prepare yourself and you’ll come out on top. And if you’re in it and need a friend? I’m always here for you.