When Bad Stuff Happens To Good People

We’ve all had that experience where life and business are going along nicely, then something disastrous happens. The recipe you’ve made dozens of times suddenly keeps coming out under baked, the doweling system that’s never failed you results in an epic “lean, squash and slide” situation. The supplier who always delivers on time is now several days late and you can’t get that topper/cutter/flower anywhere else.  The customer who always pays on time suddenly won’t answer your calls. Basically, we’ve all been there when the plans we have – the plans that WORK WELL – suddenly go to shit, and you have NO control over it. Worse, you can’t even pinpoint why it happened in the first place…after all, you’ve (mostly) got it together and this kind of stuff doesn’t happen to you, does it?

So how do you deal with this when it happens?

In the immediate term – fix the problem so that the customer is happy and you can start to breathe once more. Either re-bake or re-ice or whatever, just get to the place where the issue can be resolved and you can look at the situation with a clear mind.

In the short-term – try to figure out why it happened. Was this something preventable, like your oven is old and overdue for a service? Or was this just a random act, like your supplier of many years went out of business overnight?  If it’s something preventable, put in place the Plan B you need to make sure it’s unlikely to happen again. If it’s not preventable, then DO NOT look for all kinds of crazy reasons why this happened. It didn’t happen because you’re secretly a bad decorator, it’s not the Universe trying to get back at you for something mean you did in high school, and it’s not ‘THE SIGN” that you should quit your business. Sometimes, shit just happens and there’s nothing you can do to either predict or prevent it.

Too often we have a moment of crisis and that moment then negatively defines our behaviour going forward. I’m all for learning from our mistakes but there are times when the “mistake” isn’t ours at all – we were just a victim of the situation, not the cause.  Lately I’ve seen a lot of businesses (mostly on social media) claiming they are – as a result of one bad situation – closing their doors, never taking orders again, and basically closing down (usually with great fanfare and a maximum of drama.) Most of the time, it’s not actually ONE thing which led them to that decision – it’s a whole series of things but this one incident was the proverbial straw. I think if they took care of all those little straws along the way, they wouldn’t find themselves needing to disappear. So – when shit happens, you need to deal with it. Here’s what you do: stop the hysteria and crazy thinking for a moment. breathe. fix the one thing. assess that thing.

Then and only then can you make lasting decisions about your business, your future, and your responsibilities. Good choices were never made in the immediate aftermath of a cake disaster or after a night of tequila shots.

Don’t let ONE thing be the domino which brings your whole business down. 

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