This week has been quite exceptionally murky, grey, dull, dark & chilly. It really hasn’t got light and there’s a been a steady stream of dismal news items. As a sole trader or small or micro business, this is a serious challenge. Not only are you possibly plodding through the treacle of lack of inspiration and low energy levels but your customers are also likely to be feeling the same (they will also be short of cash like the rest of us!).
So – how to manage? Over the years, I have accepted that the first 3 weeks of January are usually slow in terms of business activity/sales but I have chosen to embrace what this space can bring and try to make it a productive time that brings hope rather than a long month of trying hard and wishing for February.
- Make your Space Magic – January is a great time to get your working environment in tip top shape. Whether you have a kitchen table, a shed, the box room or proper business premises, making that space a great place to inspire is really, really important. This might mean a clear out of all the rubbish from last year, a declutter, a paint job or just some added treats.
- Make Space for Vision – It is so important to have something in your work space that is visually inspiring. I recommend a large white board or cork board or even just wall without clutter on which you can add inspirational ideas, jot your brainwaves, stick up your pictures and plans. This visual reminder is all about hope and dreams – the antithesis of the current weather!
- Turn the Radio off – It is important to know and understand what’s happening in the world and I am not suggesting that you live in a pink bubble, but listening to regular news bulletins throughout the day is not good for business. The drip, drip effect of negative news will slowly seep away any positivity you might have summoned in the grey weather. Try music or silence to restore your energy levels and positive vibes.
- Break up the Day – Although small business owners work incredibly hard (and have to!) it is important to remember your time is your own. Make the most of this and break up your day – an extra long walk, a cuppa with a colleague or friend or an afternoon to mooch around the competition or some inspiration. This might feel luxurious and decadent but it is when the magic happens – brainspace!
- Accept the Rhythms – As humans, we often believe that we can simply keep going all year at the same pace with the same results and energy levels. This is unsustainable and not why you chose to run your own business. We are part of the animal kingdom who quite sensibly live the seasons and day light. It is ok to have contemplative time, planning time, raging busy time and holiday time throughout the year. Accepting that January might be slower and that you can simply work with the season instead of railing against it will the be the key to starting your year well and without the gloom – making a beautiful life.
I hope some of these tips have reminded you that you are not alone and that there are many, many small business owners (including me) wading through this gloomy weather and trying to be hopeful and full of ideas one day at a time. Good luck and #makeabeautifullife.