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Monday, December 17, 2012

Some things are beyond the entrepreneur control

Prepare in advance for those days you may be away!

People go through many different emotional states during each year.  The emotions range from the excitement and joy to the horror of losses like those seen in the Sandy storm or the killings in Newtown, CT.  These events affect the desire and ability to maintain normal function of a business.  During the great times, the business activities are not dramatically affected.  It is during those horrid times that one may wish to retreat from day-to-day activities and hide in a closet or worse. 

The horrid events of life need not be as devastating as the Newtown killings.  People have situations like deaths or sicknesses of family or friends.  Family breakups and arguments can contribute to the mood and desire to maintain normal daily functions.  Personal medical issues weigh heavily on decision-making processes and commitments to work.  As sad as it may seem, this is life and sometimes events are beyond our control.

Each entrepreneur has events and people they have a direct ability to improve or change; i.e., their direct circle of friends and situations where providing assistance is helpful.  Then there are those events and people you have less control over because they are out of your direct inner circle of friends or daily events.  All activities have an impact on your mood and may alter your ability to carry out your daily work requirements.  It is during these times, that having friends, family, and the community support mean the most.  They can be a source of strength.

One cannot prepare for many negative events, and it seems that they often they come in multiples.   For example, a family member in the hospital and two funerals in one week are unusual, but it happens.  The downside is that you may lose your direction and forget where you were in your work once you return.  Perhaps, you are the leader of the business and the team is lost while you are away.

There is really nothing to guide you on the emotional side or help prepare for the negative events.  You might consider the following ideas as a means of keeping the business functioning while you are recovering.   They all are advance planning and are good whether you have negative events or never experience one.

To-Do Lists:  Keep a list of activities that must be completed along with the dates required for completion.  If you must be away for a while, the list will help you understand what the work needs on your return.

Project Planning: Develop project plans with timelines.  The project plans allow the team to know their responsibilities and may keep them functioning while you are away.  Develop a reporting method that allows you to track the progress of the team at regular intervals.  The reporting method may be something you can review while you are away.

Team Leaders:  Appoint team leaders and provide them with clear objectives.  Empower the leaders to conduct the business as needed to accomplish the objectives.  Develop a means of reporting that allows them to keep you appraised even if you are not available for some period.

Second in Command: Identify and train a second in command.  A person you trust with all aspects of the company business.  Empower this person to run the business in your absence.  Developing a reporting method, you find suitable so that you may monitor activities if you are able.

You cannot prepare for all events, but you can prepare for your absence from the business.  You can also learn to trust your employees and count on them to grow the business.  The company, Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., lost 658 employees in the 9/11 attack on the One World Trade Center. This included family and friends along with much of the business.  The company found a means of rebuilding and assisting the families of those lost.   The leadership and courage of those that remain after devastation is the only way we can honor the memory of those lost.  These leaders through their guidance contribute to building a stronger community. 

 
Taffy Williams is on Twitter by @twilli2861.  Email questions to twilli2861@aol.com. More is available via his company website ,  photo website, or “LIKE” ColonialTDC on Facebook.  You can also find him in the group Startup Group on Linkedin. Other articles are in the Charlotte, NC- small business section of Examiner.com.

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