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Edition 221 – The Weight on Your Shoulders

There’s no denying the past 8 weeks have been a whirlwind of life and business disruption like most of us have never experienced in our lifetimes. For me, it has been the closest feeling that I have had of being at war when I consider the conversations I was fortunate to have with my mother-in-law and father-in-law when they were both alive. 

Today I wish to pay tribute to the phenomenal efforts of so many family business owners and managers throughout Australia, including my own clients. The weight on your shoulders has been immense over the past 8 weeks as you have had to come to terms with a hidden enemy that has the potential to endanger lives, cripple businesses and wreck economies.

Here’s what you’ve had to do over the past 8 weeks to ensure you’re in the position where you are today:

  1. Contemplated every opportunity to keep the doors open.
  2. Counselled your employees – not only about their jobs, but also about their own well-being.
  3. Managed the finances when some of your clients have told you their payment terms are no longer 45 days, but 180!
  4. Spoken with your banks about seeking funding increases and loan payment deferrals so you can get through to the other side.
  5. Managed the myriad of government paperwork in light of the numerous (and thankfully, beneficial) initiatives that have been announced.
  6. Kept in regular contact with your clients – just to see how they are travelling.
  7. Repivoted what you’ve done in business so that you’ve remained in business.
  8. Been in constant contact with key advisors that have helped guide you through and, at times, put the training wheels back on the bicycle for you.
  9. Responded immediately when a client has cried out for help.
  10. Practiced social (physical) distancing in a business where human-to-human contact is a daily occurrence.
  11. Turned up each day, no matter how lousy you felt physically or mentally, put on your “Boss-Face” and continued chartering the ship through the choppy waters.
  12. Changed rosters, consistently, to ensure your people remained safe and healthy – and to provide a contingency in the event the virus makes it way into the lives of one of your own.
  13. Started early and finished late.
  14. Sadly, at times, had to deal with staff who are angry at any change in work circumstances, like reduced hours or less overtime, whilst your main concern is they remain employed.
  15. Turned on the media long enough to listen to important announcements – but not long enough to hear all the bad news.
  16. Documented procedures and processes like never before – because what you’re dealing with is like nothing before.
  17. Put on hold any plans for expansion, no matter what stage they were at, just so you can preserve cash until we know what the other side looks like.
  18. Home schooled your children whilst you have tried to work from home – surely one of the most difficult balancing acts.
  19. Paid your suppliers and employees on time, every time, all whilst watching your bank balance fritter away.
  20. Laid awake in bed at night, often for hours, mulling things over, worrying about all of it and trying to solve some of it.

Right now, Australia has been successful in containing the virus. There is talk of things opening back up – a tentative toe in the water as we gauge what a return to normality (if that actually exists anymore) will mean for our health, our businesses and our economy. Hopefully, before too long, the weight will be lifted and you can breathe a little easier in the knowledge that things are moving again, no matter the speed at which they move.

Today, take a moment to reflect on what you have been through, what you’ve learned and how you should reward yourself for bearing the weight on your shoulders at a challenging time in history.