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Steering your business like a ship through COVID

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Do you have a small business with a big vision? I do.

I started Capital Hydrotherapy with $80 in my personal savings nearly nine years ago. I started with six sessions a week and we now run over 130 Hydrotherapy sessions a week. I’m well and truly through the first five-year “survival” zone.

Our business was thriving six weeks ago, until our country was shut down and our Hydrotherapy pools were forced to close. I have 12 motivated team players relying on a stable business and hundreds of patients desperate for pain relief. But I’m not letting COVID-19 stop us as a company and as a team.

In Australia, it is estimated that one in three new small businesses fail in their first year of operation, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year. That is alarming and it’s important to note that these stats we’re estimated before the COVID crisis hit.

When it comes to looking after a business during a crisis, I love this analogy:

“Your business should be like a moving ship. If it’s moving, it’s easy to control. If it’s stagnant, it’s impossible to steer. Keeping constant watch is important on your ship too.”

Watching your mindset.

Watching your teams wellness.

Watching cash flow.

When I’m not watching my moving ship, I‘m navigating a fantastic mess at home. A five-year-old craving to see her buddies, a three-year-old who doesn’t understand why we can’t play at the park and a 10-month-old who steals my sleep.

Working out JobKeeper.

My family need me. However, during this crisis, I also need to focus on keeping my ship moving forwards—towards our vision ….”to create an active, strong community”.

Recently, people have been asking me how I stayed motivated when my ship was sinking six weeks ago. I’d like to believe—now that Job Keeper has kicked in—we are back to moving the ship forward. Slowly, but we are moving. In difficult unsteady times, you move forward in small steps. You do what you have to do, bit by bit.

I have some strategies in place to cope over the next 3-4 months, until the Hydrotherapy pools are open. I’d love to share them with you, as we’re all in this together:

Team Zoom Huddle and gratitude

On a standard week, we would have a daily 15-minute standing team huddle. Having a regular team meeting is important for connection, productivity and feeling part of something bigger (community!). We do these huddles virtually now.

I miss the daily huddle routine, but weekly is working for us. We always start the huddle with expressing gratitude (something we’re grateful for). And discuss our “ideal week”.

Regular wellness alignment check-ins with the team.

Twice a week, I schedule time in my diary to give my teammates a call, or a relaxed friendly email. There’s no agenda and there are no objectives—just a casual wellness check-in.

Making sure they are looking after themselves—main concern should be sleep, exercise, gut health, scheduled time out and mindset. I want to make sure everyone is rejuvenated when the pools open back up.

How can we operate better?

When the business is growing, we rarely have time to step back and assess the systems and processes (the ship’s engine!).

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed me to streamline the back-end, so the face-to-face sessions are smooth and organised. Have you had a chance to tinker with your ship’s engine during the pandemic?

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep health is the oil and petrol in the ship. Having a 10-month-old baby is like having an oil tank with a slow leak.

I have a bunch of stretches I do before bed to help calm my nervous system—I’ll be sharing those with all of you next week.

Accountability partner

Do you have a mentor, business coach or friend to share your journey with? These people are like the life-guards on your ship—you don’t always have to use them, but they are always there when you need them.

To help guide your ship, give advice, support your decisions and assist you on your path (keep your ship on track!).

I have a regular 10km business meeting with my running buddy, Dee from Thinkoutloud, we set our priorities for the week, and keep each other accountable. Then we have coffee.

Every night, I make my priority list for tomorrow. I set three very clear priorities, so there’s clarity in the day before I get up the next morning; and if there is no priorities, at least that’s clear!

I recently signed up with a mentor to help over the next 19 weeks. It’s been very helpful to be kept accountable. Every day I have a 12-minute “TIME OUT” online huddle with him.

If I don’t have a priority list, and I have the Fantastic Mess around me, then nothing gets done—my business doesn’t progress and I don’t develop as a supportive leader.

Her Workout: Her Space

Most importantly: my pill. My pill is my exercise. In order to keep mentally focused, creative and calm I work out every day.

Here’s one of my favourite full-body workouts. It doesn’t take long, and I feel great afterwards:

1) PLANK & ROW

2) LUNGE & TWIST

3) THE SCOOTER

4) CRUNCH & TAP

5) HIP FIRE HYDRANT

You can print the PDF here (as this mummy doesn’t have enough time for postural cues and thorough Exercise Physiology instruction!) and watch the two-minute IGTV teaser clip here (thanks for your help Hungry, Thirsty and Tired).

 

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If you’re fit and healthy I’d recommend doing the five exercises for three sets of 10-12 repetitions. If your fitness needs nurturing, try for two sets of six repetitions, three days a week.

If you want longer workouts, subscribe to the Capital Hydrotherapy YouTube channel (a new workout is released each week) and every Tuesday at 11 am we will be going LIVE on Capital Hydrotherapy’s Facebook page with a 10-15 minute stay-at-home workout.

How are you steering your ship?

Are there things you can do behind the scenes to help move your ship forward, while the business is closed?

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