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Three Keys To Managing Business Frustrations

Written by: Dawn Kennedy, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

July was pretty stressful inside my business, Convoy Road Coffee Roasters. First, the foil-lined 3-ounce bags were out of stock. Then two varieties of coffee from my supplier were out of stock. FedEx lost a 135-pound bag of coffee from Zambia. I had a problem with my commercial roaster lease: I was charged for insurance even though I had already sent them my own insurance binder and they didn’t take a payment on time, so there was a late fee, too. There were a few other things.

To be honest, a few years ago, I would have completely melted down in tears, screaming, “Why me?” and complaining about how hard it is to be in business. And to be honest, sometimes it is hard to be in business. I WAS frustrated, really frustrated. I’m typically fine if one thing happens at a time, but these were going on in rapid succession. It didn’t feel fair. But this time, I didn’t melt down.


Over the last two years, I have done a ton of mindset work. The best definition I’ve found for mindset is from the website Very Well Mind:Your mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. It influences how you think, feel, and behave in any given situation.”


The mindset work I have focused on has been around positive perspective shifts, money beliefs, success and abundance. Gratitude is another big component of mindset work. What it isn’t is only thinking positive or never having problems or “high vibes only.” It’s about your response to the things that happen in life and the universe.


Learning to respond, and not to react to situations is definitely a work in progress. Defaulting to being in gratitude when things don’t look like they are working is also something I have to practice. A lot. But I have taken steps to change my perspective and have a three-step process I use now in my business to deal with any unexpected event so we stay the course and hold the vision. Because it is the ability to hold the vision when it feels like everything is falling apart that makes you a strong leader and entrepreneur.


1. Step One: What can you control?


I immediately started sourcing other suppliers for the 3-ounce bags. I found an alternate; hopefully, it is temporary because I don’t like them as much, but I can keep filling orders. In the future, as we continue to grow, I will source the bags from a different supplier. For us, it is a question of volume, and we have to grow enough now to justify the bigger quantity orders.


I’m getting a refund for the lost coffee. I am in control of talking to FedEx and the shipper with respect from a place of the highest respect. We all have jobs to do. What I say to my husband, or under my breath before my third cup of coffee, NEVER has to be said to the customer service people.


Taking radical responsibility for your response and holding everyone in the utmost respect are two things that you can control. You may not be able to do much else, but start here. No matter the situation you are in, focus on where you can be in control, and where you can keep the high ground and maintain the ultimate respect in the process. The response you will receive in return is life changing. Your shift will help the problems get solved quickly, and people will be happy to help you solve them.


2. Step Two: What is the worst that can happen?


I’m naturally one to catastrophize when things are going wrong. I had a pretty bad habit of thinking about the worst things that were going to happen, and how awful everything was going to be. How we’d never recover, and how we’d lose it all. In reality, thinking realistically about the absolute worst that can happen in the situation can be very calming and give you a perspective shift.


When I started thinking about it, I thought the roaster lease issue might end up with some additional fees to resolve. That was the worst. I wasn’t going to lose the equipment or the business. The roaster lease issue ended up costing me an additional $60.00 this month. I was pretty pissed at myself, at them, at the annoyance of it all - but in the greater scheme of things, $60.00 is not worth losing my mind over.


My two coffee origins from my one supplier are still not back in stock as of this writing. The worst that happens is that I run out, temporarily, and cannot give my customers the coffee they want. I’m still annoyed about it, but going back to Step One, I can’t do anything about it. As soon as it is back in stock, I will immediately put in an order. And probably a bigger one than before so I can keep it in stock.


3. Step Three: How do you need to adjust?


Now, for the other type A’s reading this (I see you), you may struggle a bit with the things that are out of your control but are affecting your business. Like a client who pays late. Or when an ad is rejected by a certain social media platform. Or when a 135-pound bag of curated cold brew green coffee beans from Zambia doesn’t make it to you after you told a few customers it was going to be a summer offering. All three of these examples are real events, that happened all within 5 days, and would have set me off before my mindset work.


Truth is, you need to have the ability to adjust your life and business as necessary to respond to the situation with grace, respect, and gratitude. You don’t have to like it. I told you, mindset work isn’t about always thinking positively. It’s about choosing to respond in the way that will serve you and your interests. Instead of anger or frustration that stays with me through the rest of the day, I’m learning to respond with curiosity, a willingness to find the lesson, and then gratitude. It’s a work in progress, but I am able to “bounce back” much quicker to optimism and a positive outlook in day-to-day management of my businesses.


One final key for managing the inevitable business frustrations is to know they are going to happen. Sometimes in frequent succession. You can choose how you want to handle them. I’m not saying you can’t have a moment of meltdown or disappointment; sometimes those are absolutely reasonable responses, but don’t stay there. See Step One.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and visit my website for more info!


 

Dawn Kennedy, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dawn Kennedy is an attorney, business consultant and mentor, author, and CEO of Convoy Road Coffee Roasters. She has an extensive background in program management and strategic planning, working for the U.S. Army and for companies in both government and private sectors. Dawn began business consulting in 2011 and, since 2017, has focused on small business growth and profitability. She works in a variety of industries, including attorneys, coaches, spas, restaurants, retail boutiques, and e-commerce businesses. She is the CEO of Convoy Road Coffee Roasters, a company she started with her husband in January of 2021 and has grown over 3500% by the end of July. Dawn is the author of "The Profit Accelerator for Small Business" and hosts the Profit Accelerator podcast. She believes above all else that all entrepreneurs have a unique gift to bring to the world, and they should be profitable doing it.

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