Tweak Your Biz » Growth » Uncertainty And Your Business

Uncertainty And Your Business



Uncertainty is so omnipresent right now. It evokes varying emotions given all the disruption we’re dealing with. And yet, disruptors are merely anything that changes how business gets done. Certainly social media is the most obvious. But so are the states of  local and national economies, innovations in your industry, cloud computing or even books or movies that made you sit up and go “oh, that’s cool!”

Uncertainty=Change

It is easy to feel discouraged when you see things getting bogged down and changing simultaneously. Naturally, business owners are asking themselves how to engage with cautious customers. Technology is constantly morphing so there are more applications to learn.  Frankly, with so much change, it can be mind boggling. However, there is a good starting point.

Softly moving forward

Operating amidst chaos isn’t desirable but we are in a time that requires different parts of ourselves than we anticipated. For some businesses, it used to be enough to network and offer a decent product or service. It isn’t that simple now for anyone. It’s time to look at soft skills like empathy, relationship building, collaboration, ingenuity, creativity and the willingness to learn as tools to manage disruption.

Empathy and relationship building

This is the provocative question, “what does your business really do?” This is not what you think it does. Our customer’s experience is often different than what we imagine. You may be providing a solution to a problem you didn’t even identify. Have you considered how empathy could play a role in your strategic planning? Intuit is good model for this. They want to know how their customers use their products so they accompany a customer home and observe from set up to actual use. When you feel someone’s frustration or satisfaction, it is easier to identify what your product or service really does. How do you walk in your customer’s shoes?

Collaboration

Relationship building can lead to collaboration. According to Robert Thomas of HBR-The Conversation, great collaborations have three ingredients. These ingredients are a problem that isn’t easily solved, lacking structure and requiring choices of what to share.

In a practical way, what could this look like? It might be  a website designer partnering with a marketing professional for a small business workshop. A good friend of mine leads an executive suites and virtual office company and she has built collaborative relationships with a shipping company, a local bank, a hotel, office supply company and many more so that her clients have what their businesses need at their finger tips. This all starts with relationships of mutual respect, effective communication and a desire to move forward.

Ingenuity and creativity

When you’re dealing with disruption, it is a moment of creation. By combining your ingenuity and creativity, you can take what is in front of you and reform it. James Thurber once said, “Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear but around in awareness.” What are you aware of? Awareness is more than just knowing the market, industry trends or customer preferences. It also includes being clear about your thoughts and feelings. The benefit of noticing your level of fatigue and/or negativity will tell you if you are going to follow through. It’s much more difficult to see a project all the way through when you are experiencing inner turmoil. Developing a realistic and hopeful perspective smooths the path.

Willing to learn

Curiosity is a crucial business tool. Not only does it support your awareness but it allows you to expand your knowledge and practical skills.  A colleague often reminds me that adopting and adapting are important skills. However, underlying these skills is the willingness to wonder about your ultimate goals, which choices fit your personality style and what is present in your business environment.

Managing uncertainty is no small feat

It takes all of you to manage the many disruptions you encounter. This may be the biggest stressor of any small business owner or CEO. Moving towards a synchronicity of soft skills plus your experience and skills will enable you to choose how you respond to the many disruptions.

How do you use your soft skills in your business plan? How does managing uncertainty change your business?



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The Author:

Elli St.George Godfrey guides small business owners as they expand in their own community or internationally using her 3 Keys Coaching process helps clients not only navigate growth stages. With each stage of the 3 Keys coaching process, we tackle strategic planning, goal setting, managing change, organizational development and managing the stress and feelings of overwhelm that often plague small to mid-size business owners and executives. This results in clients feeling confident in identifying and developing strategies to be more effective leaders, plan more creatively, increase revenues and overcome the fears and obstacles that interfere with building thriving small to mid-sized businesses. I am also Chief Community Manager of Kaizen Biz and Host of Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz (a chat that uses the concept of "kaizen" for continual improvement in how we think and act in business). Please visit www.abilitysuccessgrowth.com/about/ to learn more and I look forward to meeting you in a complimentary coaching session. http://www.abilitysuccessgrowth.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Ellie, I like your the example of your friend who hasu00a0partnered up with other businesses, and I agree thatu00a0collaboration has now become a key tool for dealing with these difficult times.u00a0u00a0

  • Anonymous

    Hi Elli. Nice post. You’re speaking my language!

  • Anonymous

    Lewis,nnThanks for reading my post! Creativity is indeed an important quality we all need right now!

  • Anonymous

    Niall,nnMy friend is such an inspiration to me! I was delighted to share her example. We often think of silos being created in larger organisations. However, business to business, we assume that there is nothing in common and perhaps miss out on untapped collaborations.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Curiosity is a natural trait we need to let out of the bag more (and leave the cat inside!)nWe are naturally curious, empathetic and helpful as humans, and it is now more important than ever to allow these natural traits to filter into business, but so that they are displayed intrinsically :)nnI love collaboration, because it involves all the yummy things humans are good at, when we allow ourselves. I believe collaboration and reciprocation has replaced the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mindset that was fully conditional.nnI believe we need to be more trusting and understanding as business owners – great post Elli :)

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    I love that quote Elli.u00a0 I read this on Friday and it just wasn’t sinking in as I was too distracted to absorb any of it.u00a0 I’ve just re-read it after a very eventful weekend and it’s like you wrote it specially for me, specially the 2nd half of it. nnI agree that uncertainty isn’t a bad thing and my ability to deal with it has certainly improved over the last few years, as well as help others deal with it in a positive way.nnRevisiting and re-evaluating is a continual process whether it’s in the form of continuous learning and upskilling or developing new alliances, all help with the uncertainty of the current situation.u00a0 nnThat said, if we knew for certain what our outcome was going to be, how many of us would realisticly still aim for it?u00a0 Uncertainty is part of what makes life (and businesss) interesting.n

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    I love that quote Elli.u00a0 I read this on Friday and it just wasn’t sinking in as I was too distracted to absorb any of it.u00a0 I’ve just re-read it after a very eventful weekend and it’s like you wrote it specially for me, specially the 2nd half of it. nnI agree that uncertainty isn’t a bad thing and my ability to deal with it has certainly improved over the last few years, as well as help others deal with it in a positive way.nnRevisiting and re-evaluating is a continual process whether it’s in the form of continuous learning and upskilling or developing new alliances, all help with the uncertainty of the current situation.u00a0 nnThat said, if we knew for certain what our outcome was going to be, how many of us would realisticly still aim for it?u00a0 Uncertainty is part of what makes life (and businesss) interesting.n

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    I love that quote Elli.u00a0 I read this on Friday and it just wasn’t sinking in as I was too distracted to absorb any of it.u00a0 I’ve just re-read it after a very eventful weekend and it’s like you wrote it specially for me, specially the 2nd half of it. nnI agree that uncertainty isn’t a bad thing and my ability to deal with it has certainly improved over the last few years, as well as help others deal with it in a positive way.nnRevisiting and re-evaluating is a continual process whether it’s in the form of continuous learning and upskilling or developing new alliances, all help with the uncertainty of the current situation.u00a0 nnThat said, if we knew for certain what our outcome was going to be, how many of us would realisticly still aim for it?u00a0 Uncertainty is part of what makes life (and businesss) interesting.n

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    I love that quote Elli.u00a0 I read this on Friday and it just wasn’t sinking in as I was too distracted to absorb any of it.u00a0 I’ve just re-read it after a very eventful weekend and it’s like you wrote it specially for me, specially the 2nd half of it. nnI agree that uncertainty isn’t a bad thing and my ability to deal with it has certainly improved over the last few years, as well as help others deal with it in a positive way.nnRevisiting and re-evaluating is a continual process whether it’s in the form of continuous learning and upskilling or developing new alliances, all help with the uncertainty of the current situation.u00a0 nnThat said, if we knew for certain what our outcome was going to be, how many of us would realisticly still aim for it?u00a0 Uncertainty is part of what makes life (and businesss) interesting.n

  • http://twitter.com/marketingdebbie TheMarketingShop.ie

    Great post Eamonn and so accurate, “leaders” without trust can’t lead properly in any walk of life and often do more harm than good.  

  • Epobrien

    Thanks Debbie, there’s no doubt that leaders must pay attention to their credibility if they want to inspire anyone. You only have to look at the current Republican primaries in the US, or our own Presidential race, to see how politicians struggle to maintain support once their credibility is dented.

  • Epobrien

    Hi Niall,   Great points –  people are placing less trust in political leadership and yet we have never needed it more.  We live in risky times and collective responsibility linked with shared vision is something we need to foster. One thing is certain, political leadership divided will fall – we need the opposite.

  • http://www.appointmentsetting.com/ simonswills

    The overall tone of our governmental authority is almost beyond fix & appropriate management are now more usually discovered elsewhere. 

  • http://tweakyourbiz.com/ Niall Devitt

    Well done, Sian!

  • Elish Bul

    A Big Congratulations to Sian and the rest of the Team who provided so much great Business Advice in February

  • http://www.ahaingroup.com/ John twohig

    Thank you Sian, for the invitation to do this #TYBSpotlight. It was fun and interesting to do. As for you recommending the service, bring it on, Mark will be very happy with the extra business.

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