Transition is never easy. It is even harder when it is thrust upon you unexpectedly. In small business, transition ranges from things like losing a client or employee to shifting to a remote team to completely changing your business model.
You can turn to the cliches to help you adjust. The only constant is change. Or if you are not riding the wave of change, you will find yourself beneath it. Insert eye-roll emoji here. Do not get me wrong, I do find inspiration from quotes like those. Indeed my personal favorite is: Change from the outside brings pressure, change from within brings power.
However, when you are in the midst of transition, you need more than inspirational quotes. Here are 3 steps to help you deal with transition as a small business owner.
Reframe the issue
Lose a client (or a few) recently? It is natural to view that loss as a reflection of your work product, even if they were a horrible client.
Tell yourself it will work out for the better. If the loss was a result of your actions, you will learn what to do better next time. If it was due to them being a PITA (pain in the ass), good riddance, now you have the space to find a great client to replace them.
Even if you do not really believe it, even if you are anxious about the lost revenue, say these things out loud. Reframe the “bad news” into future opportunities. Over time, you will start to believe them when you say them.
Be on the lookout for signs it is a trend
Sometimes change is a one-off, like that one employee left because they actually do need to spend more time with their family. Other times, it is the sign of a trend. Be on the lookout for those and adjust accordingly.
An employee once wanted to change up a certain practice we do at Freedom Makers. I personally thought she was having a knee-jerk reaction to a one-off event but she seemed pretty adamant so I went with it. It turned out that change really enhanced the relationships between our clients and virtual assistants.
Sometimes you need to listen to others for signs of a trend and trust them, even when you do not see it.
Recognize there will be bumps along the way and that is okay
Many small businesses were unexpectedly forced to become a remote team in 2020. During that scramble, a plethora of resources surfaced offering tips (including ours) on how to manage a remote team.
As owners stumbled through that set up, many began to see the value in a remote team and now plan to keep their teams permanently remote. These plans often include hiring a virtual assistant as well.
Such a change can be drastic, not least because it was unexpected. But switching to a remote team requires a complete makeover in how the team communicates, makes decisions, and collaborates.
It will not be perfect right out the gate. Indeed, it will never be perfect. Recognizing that and then explaining that there will be bumps in the road to your team smoothes out those bumps. That not only reduces your stress but also can unleash creativity in how the team addresses each bump.
I once heard that in order to use a map, you need to know where you are and where you are going. I think the same can apply to transitions. When you know where you are and where you are going, you can view bad news as a simple detour (reframe), discern whether a pothole is just a pothole or a bad road you need to get off of (trends), and can traverse unsteady terrain without fear (bumps are okay).