Sometimes when running a business your most thought-out plans can fall through. Whether it is because of technical difficulties, financial constraints or relying on others for a piece of the puzzle. Many entrepreneurial experts will tell you not to have a “Plan B” because they want you to focus solely on your goals, and not allow for failure. While I do not necessarily disagree with them, I do firmly believe you need to be able to alter course if outcomes require it.
Having flexibility in your decision-making process, in your operational processes and in your desired outcomes will reduce anxiety and stress. It will most definitely make things feel smoother than if you otherwise pulled teeth to obtain your written plan. It’s not exactly “lowering expectations” but more of “How can we do what we planned but differently?” Your goals have a purpose and if you can at least make the purpose shine through, then how much does it really matter that it was done differently?
Cloud Friday’s example of what happened is this week’s blog post! Our plan (it’s even written in a Google Sheets!) is to provide a Small Business Spotlight on the second Monday of every month. It is also planned to do a CEO Chatter once a month on the fourth Monday. But, my friends, as you can see, today is another CEO Chatter. So what happened? Well, things didn’t go as planned.
We had one company set up for our interviewing process, they were non-responsive. Phone and email messages were left. Nada. Radio silence.
So we reached out to another business, an existing Cloud Friday client. After a brief phone call, which starts the interview process, our interview email was sent. Unfortunately, timing hadn’t worked out for the response from that client, so we reached out to another client. The phone call was a success, but the email response didn’t align with our timeline either. Knowing that we will be able to work their stories into other Spotlight Weeks, we weren’t fretting about reaching out to multiples at the same time. That said, it just goes to show just how busy small business owners are. And HOW MANY emails they receive. Both of these clients were excited to partake in our Spotlight, but things happen and things get pushed back. We understand that. So instead of hounding them and sounding like petulant children not getting their way, we altered course.
Because of many reasons!
One – they’re doing us and our readers a favor. By sharing their stories, they are showing a different (or another) perspective on being a business owner. They’re sharing their insights and experiences and, in doing so, helping us all become more well-rounded entrepreneurs.
That’s important for the community at large, but it’s not really important for them. Sure, they get a little PR of their business, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to their own marketing efforts. So why would we bother them so much for something benefiting us? It should be an honor for their time.
Two – We don’t want to jeopardize our relationship with them over a blog. Blogs are such trivial things in the grand scheme, so why would we phone and phone and phone for a deadline that was never their deadline to begin with?
Three – The purpose for our blog is to educate or enlighten our readers, small business owners. More specifically, Small Business Spotlight is to show the experience from a certain person’s perspective. Am I not doing that now by writing this? So the purpose is the same either way.
Four – I think this is the most important one – How much stress on myself and Ty, our blog writer, is it worth to produce a Small Client Spotlight on schedule? Employee retention and stress-management are more important than anything else in my eyes. To keep Ty is an invaluable asset to Cloud Friday. To keep my blood pressure down is invaluable to my health. I think each goal you have should be weighed against the negatives caused by enforcing that goal at all costs. If the cons outweigh the pros, change your plan of action.
I think being flexible in business is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. Don’t necessarily plan for your plans to fail (such as having a Plan B) but don’t be unwilling to move towards something slightly off course.
Your heart, and your employees, will thank you.