“Sometimes removing yourself from the fast track,…is an ideal way to allow another passion or vocation to flourish”
– Marci Alboher
How often do we do this, remove ourselves from the fast track, that is? This action is normally preceded by a life changing event, like job-loss, or another loss in our lives. This experience we look at where we are and make the changes we believe is needed to survive. Covid-19 has been the trigger for many, with large scale unemployment experienced on a global scale, including South Africa, with many small businesses unable to reopen their doors to trade again. Other than the socio-economic effects, many entrepreneurs also had to deal with the pain of illness, or a loss of life of a loved one.
This is not a post about how to revive your business after Covid-19, there are many great posts out there and at this point the topic has been given its fair share of attention. Here I want to speak about how you can increase your versality as a resource. How you can become more resilient in the face of economic crisis, but mostly how this can boost your personal growth. After all, I am passionate about advocating for personal growth and you will find me campaigning for it in every post I do, personal growth and business growth.
Are all your eggs in one basket?
Let us use the analogy of eggs in a basket. Often when entrepreneurs talk about having all their eggs in one basket, it means that they have not diversified their clients or product/service offerings. To elaborate, if they lose one client or one of the only product lines that they is not performing well or suddenly needs to come to an end, this spells…no sales, or greatly reduced sales, negative cash flow, reduced profitability and a threat to sustainability.
Bleak picture, but a true fact for many entrepreneurs as it is really easy to become consumed in providing excellent service to our key client, that we neglect to find another, or strengthen relationships with other smaller clients. Being stuck in the technician syndrome doesn’t help either, as it inhibits the entrepreneur from gaining a strategic perspective of the company, clients and sales. Technician syndrome is not uncommon amongst small business owners and often comes with the territory. A technician is usually the term applied to a person who is ‘stuck in a laboratory’, ‘skilled at the practice of their craft’ and ‘immersed in the practical aspect of their work’, basically, you are the primary employee in the company. Before I digress into my favourite topic, back to the eggs and why you need more baskets.
Back to the eggs and why you need more baskets
Let’s say during the Covid-19 Lock-down period, you had time for personal reflection, time to bake banana bread and practice Fatima Sydow’s recipes on You Tube. Became adept or not, at managing to work from home, supervise your children’s online learning, jostling for use of the family computer/s, while dealing with a gasping Wi-Fi, and the art of group hibernation all at once. Let’s just take a deep breath at this point.
The point is…
How can you use all this character building experience, to expand who you are, what you are able to offer, and what you would like to offer. Here I am referring to both existing entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and others wishing for career change. One of the areas that I focus on in my business, is strategic risk-management and this can be translated in many different ways. I have compiled a few reflective questions you can work through in order to direct your thinking on this path.
The Professional Career
As a professional career person, how versatile are you currently in terms of your education, skills and competencies, that you are able to utilise for career growth at your place of work? At the same time, will your current state of versatility be sufficient to harness in pursuit of a new opportunity, whether in another department, company or in entrepreneurship?
Self-audit – list your skills, competencies and knowledge gained through education, training and work experience. Identify any gaps that need to be filled in order to grow on your existing career path or one that you aspire to. Now write down your plan of action for how you will get there.
As an entrepreneur, think of the aspects of your business that surfaced as weaker or areas needing improvement in light of Covid-19. Also, consider the times when you felt reassured by an aspect of your business, it could be the resilience of a product/service, or your operations.
Self-audit – What stood out for you about your business or yourself during this time?
What was of particular concern for you? What changes do you need to make in order to improve the concern you have identified?
So, what does this have to do with eggs and baskets?
I lose track, maybe it was all the baking during Lock-down or maybe it just means that in order to be more resilient, in my experience, it helps to be more versatile. And in the spirit of risk-management, have a spare tray of eggs in the pantry, just in case.
Book quote – One Person Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher