The Beauty of Focus and Plan B

Did you ever have one of those days or weeks when you said "What in the world am I doing running this business?!"

Yeah. Me too. In fact, last month threw me for such a loop I really was beginning to wonder about my sanity.

I'm sharing this story because I think we business owners tend to think so often in the 'now' that we put-off doing any contingency planning. Then, when a crisis occurs, we find ourselves focusing on the negative things that are causing the crisis. And that, my friend, makes it worse!

Trust me, there were definitely a few hours last month when I couldn't pull my attention away from what seemed to be the train-wreck I was in - - but ultimately, I not only managed to pull my attention away from the frustrations but had the wherewithal to implement Plan B.

Here's an overview of my story:

? My computer got a virus and died. (Lesson learned - back up EVERYTHING!)

? The new book that I was writing was lost - totally - nothing was salvaged. (This was not the "10 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Sales Success: What Every Pet-Care Business Owner Needs to Know to Build Their Business in a Big Way")

? I had to buy a new computer, pronto

? I paid Uncle Sam (a lot) for the privilege of running a successful business

? All of my financial files in Quick Books(tm) were lost in the computer death; and here's the clincher -

? One sitter left (this was expected), the sitter I'd hired to replace her let me know the day before her start date that she'd taken another job, and another sitter alerted me on a Thursday that her last day would be that Friday (these were all midday walkers!)

YIKES!!! So, what did I do? I cried. Okay. More like a huge sob. One. Long. Huge. Sob.

Then I changed my focus. Instead of 'crying over spilt milk' as my Grandma Jule used to say, I bade a mental goodbye to all the sitters who were leaving and opened my mind to the possibility that better sitters were on their way.

Next I pulled out "Plan B" and called in the 'troops.' The troops are the wonderful group of consultants who work with me whenever they can 'on-call' and the troops are also my wonderful caring clients. I asked the on-call folks how much time they could give me in the next few weeks and parceled out the daily walk clients accordingly. I let the clients who were directly affected know that they would be working with a back-up sitter for the next few weeks while we continued to interview for the right fit for them.

What happened next blew my socks off! Clients called and emailed and told me their tough work stories. Some even offered to rearrange their schedules to walk their own dogs at lunch! And the on-call folks worked with their internships, babysitter schedules, temp jobs, and school schedules to pick up as many visits as they could. I nearly wanted to cry again. This time because I realized how lucky I really I am.

What really turned things around? Two things made all the difference. First was my ability to focus on the right things and second was the fact that I had planned ahead for just this type of situation.

Once I stopped focusing on negative and non- productive things I started focusing on how awesome and understanding my clients would be in this situation and how generous and giving the consultants I work with are. By focusing on these things I was able to implement the tasks that would make it happen.

So what's your lesson?

Be AWARE of your focus. Do you spend more of your day keeping track of what went wrong than what went right? Make a proactive effort to change that now. An easy way to implement this change is to keep a list of 'wins' in your day-planner, your personal journal, or on scraps of paper. The important thing is to end each day recounting the things that went right. It will help you change your mindset, so when you really need a positive focus, it will be easy to find!

Create a "Plan B" now while you don't need it. Whether you're a sole proprietor who never gets sick, a large company with tons of employees, or a mid-size company that depends on every client you currently have to stay solvent - -you need a "Plan B." Your Plan B should focus on those things that you take for granted and that could go wrong. What would you do in that situation? Build your plan around it!

The beauty of Plan B is that it will already exist even if you're in a panic over an IRS audit, or rushing to go out of town because of a family emergency. You'll have your moment of panic and then the light bulb will go off and you'll say 'Wowsa! Thank goodness I have a Plan B' and you'll be able to focus on making good things happen.

Watch your focus and create contingency plans - and even if you have a month like mine - you'll still be in great shape!

2005 Peggie Arvidson-Dailey

About The Author: Peggie Arvidson-Dailey, The Pet Care Business Expert, is author of "Surprisingly Simple Sales Steps: What Every Pet-Care Business Owner Needs to Know to Build Their Business in a BIG Way!" To learn more about her book and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://www.peggiespets.com

NOTE: You absolutely can use this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to Peggie@peggiespets.com

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


A Look at Incorporating a Business in Florida

As you may know, there are many ways to incorporate... Read More

Solving the Late Paying Customer Blues

Nothing can drive a business down faster than customers who... Read More

Reclaim Equipment Detailing Industry and NPDES, EPA, Storm Water Rules

It behooves every professional mobile auto detailer to stay up... Read More

Look Out for that Great Accountant

There are many factors to be considered when you are... Read More

Top 10 Lessons for Small Business Success - As learned From My Twin 3 Year Olds

Small business success is very similar to learning to walk,... Read More

Building Your Business for Success in 2005

It's a strange anomaly.Most people who set out to start... Read More

Want to Grow Your Business? Make an Irresistible Offer

My clients and many of my readers are small and... Read More

How to Start a Pet Transportation Business

Pet Transportation Services are needed as the number of pets... Read More

Five Quick Ways to Speed Up Cash Flow

At one point or another, almost every business runs short... Read More

Small Business Survival

In today's economic climate, the first priority for the small... Read More

Auto Detailers and Competitive Aspects of Automobile Detailing

There are both fixed and mobile detailers. Consumers often will... Read More

Franchising Companies Relationship Strategies

Franchising Corporations need to maintain an iron fist when it... Read More

How To Choose A Franchise

You'd like to go into business for yourself, and believe... Read More

Dispute Resolution; Competing With Other Franchisees

If you are in a franchise and have a territory... Read More

Wichita KS; Anything is Possible in Wichita Business

Just when the entire state was kissing Wichita goodbye, economically... Read More

Multiple Clients Create Your Independent Business

Would you rather have one good client paying you five... Read More

Top Ten Resolves for Building Your Business in 2005

1. Resolve to build a consistent network system.Since referrals are... Read More

Postcards Make It Rain Referrals

One of the simplest ways to expand your marketing efforts... Read More

How to Effectively Design Your Business Image

In many industries, image is one of the last things... Read More

Franchising in The Middle East There Will Bring Significant Opportunity for US Based Franchisors

As stability emerges in the Middle East there will be... Read More

Increase Productivity and Business Success - Take Responsibility

Are you responsible for your results?What comes to mind when... Read More

Keeping Business Alive

Who is responsible for maintaining the business relationship?Nurturing a business... Read More

Boat Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101

How do marine type businesses start? Have you ever thought... Read More

How to Get Started As A Government Contractor

Becoming a contractor or sub-contractor for the U.S. government can... Read More

Entrepreneurs Ask: What Can a Virtual Assistant Do For Me?

Great question!Freeing your time is an indisputably key element in... Read More

Starting a Mobile Auto Detailing Business; Dry Wash or Pressure Wash?

Many experienced auto detailing professionals who have started out using... Read More

Mobile Carwash; Senior Citizens and Mobile Homes

Senior citizens are generally not a large marketing segment for... Read More

Politics, Environmental Rules, and Mobile Car Washes

During the California Recall Election, I was very interested. Without... Read More

20 Great Ways to Market Your Business Locally

Whether your target audience is in your neighborhood or across... Read More

Why Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Should

As the owner or an employee of a small-to medium-sized... Read More

A Portable Trade Show Exhibit Makes for an Easier Show

You can make your trade show experience much easier by... Read More

Get In Touch With Your Competition!

We all know that competition is an ugly word but... Read More

Window Cleaning Business Start Up

Should you buy a business opportunity or Franchise if you... Read More