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Lockdown lessons from a Canberra small business owner

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What business lessons have you learnt with the lockdown? Once we’re on the other side of lockdown, are you ready?

What business lessons have I learned? Where do I start….

My boutique hydrotherapy business closed for five months last year when COVID first hit Canberra. You can imagine the feelings that were turning over in my head when the first “seven day” snap lockdown announcement happened four weeks ago.

The unknown is the hardest part—the uncontrollable, the instability.

As a team, we have learnt to adapt, and support each other.

At Capital Hydrotherapy & Exercise Physiology, we are a small, tight team. We run over 200 hydrotherapy sessions a week (when we’re not locked down), and have 16 teammates to consider.

We have a team huddle, five days a week (pictured), and our team is a work-family. We rely on each other’s energy, so lockdown and isolation hit our little team hard.

As a business, I feel like we learnt a lot from the 2020 lockdown. The business exploded by over 20% when we got out of the lockdown last year—so I’m going to follow the same plan this time. We must have done something right. Right?

Do you have a plan? Here’s our five-point plan that we’ll be focusing on:

Mindset management

Mindset is everything. The entire teams’ attitude is contagious. Everyone needs to be onboard with the business changes if the business is going to thrive on the other side of lockdown.

Not everyone will be onboard with the swift changes straight away, and that’s ok. But as a team leader, I need to know “Who’s in?” and “Who needs more time?”.

Focussing on what you can control is essential—so that’s always our first plan of attack. Checking in with the team regularly, and seeing how they feel about all the changes.

Lockdown happens quickly, and the business has to adapt instantly (e.g.: we pivoted to online group classes and telehealth overnight, and a new hydrotherapy facility within five days).

It’s a lot to process—which is why it’s extra important to check in with the teams’ mindset, attitude and energy.

Post lockdown vision

When the going gets tough, it’s important to connect with your “why”. Our vision is to “create an active strong community”.

Whenever I’m having a tough day (which is way too often right now!), I think about why I started Capital Hydrotherapy 10 years ago. I think of my family and the team. It’s an easy reset for me.

Consistent daily check-ins

Every day I start my day with gratitude and at least 15 minutes of movement. This daily routine allows me to check-in and fill my cup up (certainly not an easy process when I have three little kids wanting my attention).

I can’t help others if I haven’t helped myself first. Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. And to tell you the truth, it gets me out of my PJ’s and into something more motivating!

Weekly road mapping

On Sunday nights, I map out on my whiteboard what I need to focus on the next week. I call it my “seven-day business wellness plan”.

I always list 10 things I can achieve to move my business forward. Even if it’s a small task, it’s a step forward. Small incremental steps are all you need in a pandemic. E.g.: podcasts to listen to, referrers to connect with, teammates to contact, article to write, website to update, social media blog for educational purposes, etc.

Connecting with the community

Having a bigger picture is essential for the soul. Each week, I think about how I can help my Canberra community. How can we get them moving and motivated?

HerCanberra’s regular move columns including HerWorkout, Ask an Exercise Physiologist and Workplace Workouts were born due to having a bigger picture in mind.

Creating trust and regular check-ins with our clients/patients is essential—they need us more than ever. Now is the time to step up, and be brave and go out of our comfort zone.

Oh, by the way—I do most of the above tasks in my uggies. No fairytales here.

If you have a small business, do you have a plan this lockdown to ensure you make it to the other side?

 

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