I’ve been asked more than once in the last few weeks to comment on what I believe should be the priorities for small business planning for a successful 2016, especially with the current circumstances in Calgary in southern Alberta generally of the great uncertainty that exists with the impact of oil prices, the slumping value of the Canadian dollar, the possible meltdown of the Shanghai Stock exchange, and all the other gloom–and–doom scenarios that might have an impact on whoever’s asking the question.

I have three basic areas to point you to.

  1. Intentionally choose a mindset of Opportunity rather than Catastrophe.
  2. Focus on what you can do to strengthen your business so that it’s in the best possible shape to take advantage of the inevitable turn around.
  3. Starting today, begin to develop the mindset in everyone who works in and with your business that contributes to every one of your customers thinking, feeling and saying “Those people are amazing! I can’t imagine doing business with anyone else.”

So I’m going to devote this and my next two posts to these three points. Today I’ll write about the basic mindset.

Choosing between Opportunity and Catastrophe is absolutely fundamental. Are you looking at your situation right now and seeing problems, stress, risks and negativity, what are you seeing opportunities to help your customers in new ways? And there’s no point in worrying about circumstances that you can’t influence, such as the Shanghai Stock exchange. Yes, it’s a big distraction right now, but you don’t need to let it suck up your energy.

If other businesses in your industry start to pull back, or even close down, what’s the opportunity for you to move into their space? If the products and services that you relied on to get you here are no longer wanted or needed, what can you do with the skills, knowledge, and experience and especially your customer base, to continue to survive and then to thrive again?

And if all you see is disappearing markets and especially cash flow issues, then how long are you willing to spend thrashing around before you drown, rather than swim to shore?

When I look at the many and diverse businesses and business owners that I work with, it’s really encouraging to see how each and every one of them is committed to survive and thrive over the next 12 months. I’m sure there will be many interesting stories to tell over that time.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with these questions and encourage you to explore them during the next week. Then we’ll talk about strengthening your business and making it indispensable.

Right Brain thoughts by Pam Dale