This month, we’re all about embracing challenge and, when it comes to business, few things can be as challenging (and as scary) as change. As planners and small business owners, the smallest upset can oftentimes seem like a huge hurdle. Today, then, I wanted to talk a little bit about overcoming, and eventually learning to embrace, change in your business.
Take a Deep Breath
Nothing is ever as bad as you initially may think it is. Remember that. Years ago, I started my wedding planning business with a 50/50 partner. She handled all of the design while I handled everything else—and it was a perfect partnership. Five years later, she decided planning wasn’t in her future, and, to be honest, I completely freaked out. It was absolutely devastating.
As business owners, it’s pretty much a guarantee that unpredictable, unwelcome challenges will come our way and we’ll have no choice but to deal with them. But, before we can deal with them, we have to do one simple thing: breathe. Allow yourself some me-time when a big change comes your way. This may mean literally just sitting down and breathing for ten minutes. It may mean taking a stay-cation. It may mean diving face-first into a bottle of Cab (no judgment). Wherever your zen is, allow yourself to go there first before you make any rash decisions or start plotting out what you’ll write on your business’ tombstone. It sounds like simple advice, but it’s the most important step in the process—a clear head is the only way you can successfully tackle challenge.
Step Outside of the Frame
One of my favorite adages is “It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.” Stepping back is the only way to gain some serious perspective on things. As planners, our business is our baby, and any unexpected or unwelcome change can feel like the end of the world. When life throws you a curveball, remember that your best bet is to step outside of the frame. Picture yourself as a passerby who has no relationship to the business at all (easier said than done, I know)—what does this change look like from that perspective? Is it really all that devastating and insurmountable?
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
When change comes our way, we have to remember to keep our end goal in mind. When my partner stepped away from our planning business, I was absolutely devastated, yes. But did her departure mean I no longer wanted to be a wedding planner? No way. Her goals changed, but mine hadn’t. I had the same objective—I just had to figure out a new way to achieve it. I had to remove my emotion and heartbreak from the picture and focus on my business goals.
Learn to Pivot
Because my business partner did all of the wedding design, I was absolutely terrified when she left. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I had a creative bone in my body. But, if I wanted to continue with my business, I had to learn to pivot. I was no longer the “everything but design” person—I was now the “everything” person. I had to train my design eye, brush up on wedding trends and employ the proper tools to help me do both. I had to sit down and map out my design process, step by step. With the right design tools and a little determination, though, design planning quickly became my favorite part of the planning process. In the end, stepping outside of my comfort zone was the best thing that could have ever happened to my business and to me as a wedding planner!