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Not all businesses are alike: from solopreneur to small businesses with employees to international corporations grossing millions; there are common threads amongst us.

When I went to the Small Business Development Center developing my business plan, I understood the risks, hoping my vision and stable management skills would withstand the widely published facts from the Labor Board to financial institutions about why businesses fail.

Having solid business acumen is vital, and decision-making skills crucial. But, when stuff hits the fan and nature plays her cards, we are left with one thing, our attitude. Justifiably, emotions are a part of our human life, but I am curious about how we can cope.

In today's pandemic predicament, no one knows what the 'new normal' means to small business owners and their teams or the impact in their communities.

Researching the Bureau of Labor statistics from their latest stats in 2017, I found it is hardly adequate now. But what remained is the fact that the most common failure in business is due to the lack of capital or funding and unsuccessful marketing initiatives. 

Considering what we have been through as business owners these past months, the two above conditions were guaranteed outcomes because of our nation-wide shut down due to this uncontained virus. While our government tried to provide fiscal stimulus, however useful, we now face a second wave in the fall. Our challenges remain, and our emotions still high.

I am optimistic, always have been, so I turned on my consultant and research hat. I decided what characteristics do we business owners have in common. What are the qualities of character do we need to provide some emotional intelligence at least as we muster through this challenging time?  

First, I wanted to understand how management in any business might consider the lifecycle of change. One resource, Lucid charts organized the process this way:

1. Evaluate the situation and define your approach

2. Determine feasibility

3. Analysis costs and benefits

4. Plan for change

5. Build Implementation

I had watched several documentaries about "How the Planet will End' and had not compared the pandemic to this change cycle until now. Recalling many business owners in our community, especially those mentioned last month, were able to pivot and change course because of this process, even though the unexpected still exists.

What is clear to me is that there are still no guarantees that my business will survive.  Even in perfect times, I must still garner smart, consistent business processes.  I am reminded about the failures that some of our great leaders had in stock before they succeeded. Like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, and the list goes on.

We can see in our local community people rising to the occasion, sharing their innovations and ideas. We see community networking on social platforms, town halls, and community organizations & local businesses that are demonstrating these qualities of leadership. We must not let our identities of being business-owners surpass the true nature of who we are as people. As individuals, we can strive to lead by example.  According to Peter Agnew, these are the eight leadership styles:

1. Leaders are pioneers and know how to energize people

2. Leaders are affirming of others and inclusive

3. Leaders are deliberate but humble

4. Leaders are resolute and courageous

We are living in unprecedented times. But I do know this, our character of who we are as people is what will get us through this. 'United we stand, divided we fall.'

Janet Janssen is a sales consultant and public speaker. She offers business coaching and offering courses online and at the SBDC in Santa Cruz, to register: https://www.santacruzsbdc.org/events/power-influence-3-ways-reach-and-teach  Please feel free to contact me:  janet@janetjanssen.com  831-335-0553 www.janetjanssen.com

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