How can you look through the worrying economic climate you're faced with when it comes to your bridal business? We asked Anna Wood from Northampton-based Anna Wood Bridal for advice on how to really keep calm and carry on...
With us facing such uncertain times it can be hard to focus on the positive and not panic, however the last thing you should do is panic! Having started and grown my first business to a multi six-figure turnover within the first year, during the recession of 2008, I'm familiar with uncertain times.
The one thing that you can be certain in business is nothing is certain. Since my first business I have built and grown further companies. The bridal industry is rapidly changing, however change opens up opportunities. That's the main thing to focus on – opportunity not uncertainty. Here at my top tips on staying calm during uncertain times.
1 Be the driver of your life
I know this is easier said than done, however positive thinking is the key to success. Life either happens to us or for us, and you get to choose which. You can either be the driver or your life or the passenger. Take responsibility for 100% of your life, and in doing so you will find unbelievable power as you are in control of your actions. Remember respond don't react. Things always get better no matter how tough they get.
If in doubt breathe! With the negative media talk it can bring up deep anxieties that can surface in these situations. If you feel like you are starting to get stressed or anxious take some deep breaths. Breathe in for the count of four, hold it for four and breathe out for four again. Concentrate on your breathing and do this sequence a few times until you feel more relaxed. If you are feeling anxious take a moment to ask yourself, what am I scared of? Our brains are very powerful and will find the answer for you. Once you have the answer you can deal directly with that anxiety and work on eliminating it.
3 Focus on the things that are in your control, think positively and be kind to yourself
Focus on things you can change! As Tony Robbins (who is of massive inspiration to me) says, "Energy flows where attention goes". Our brains are constantly being bombarded with information – around 11 million pieces of information per second! That's way too much information for our brains to cope with, and in fact our brains can only process around 126 pieces per second. What we pay attention to is governed by several things: our past experience; our language; our state/mood; our decisions; our mindset; our values and beliefs. Focus your mind on positive experiences and situations, and use positive language with yourself and others and your brain will choose to go in that direction.
Furthermore self talk is so important! We've all been there when we say negative things to ourselves. Be conscious of the things that you're saying to yourself, and when you catch yourself saying negative things flip it! For example if you keep thinking "my business won't survive this" stop yourself and flip it. Then say to yourself and ideally write it down the positive version of that for example "My business is strong and will survive this". Remember if you're looking for something to go wrong you'll find it.
4 Look at areas to diversify
Look at the offerings you have already and if there is anything else you could add, or change to create a further income stream. The more income streams you have the safer your business is, as if one income stream is not performing so well then it is just some, and not all, of your income that takes a hit. Start a mind map for ideas and keep adding to it. Explore each idea you have as you will soon work out which are the most viable. Remember the greatest inventions in this world started as an idea.
5 Plan ahead
Start putting plans in place now for if things don't go according to plan. There is nothing worse than being caught by surprise. Update cashflow forecasts and if you feel that there will be a gap in cashflow apply early. Having worked for HSBC early in my career as a Financial Planning Manager I have seen time and time again business owners that try to source funding when they are desperate for funds. It makes it harder to access funds and can be a lot more expensive.
6 There's always a solution
I'm a great believer in "there is always a way as long as you want to find it". There isn't much in life that isn't fixable! Your mind is your most powerful asset so use it to your advantage. Rather than focusing on the effect that you are experiencing – for example, "I don't have as many appointments" – ask yourself questions like, "What can I do to make more appointments?" Specificity and clarity are key, however your brain is amazingly powerful and will come up with the answers for you.
7 Seek guidance
You're not in this alone. Look for groups on Facebook that you can join that will help with new ideas. Don't look for ones that will feed negative thoughts. Find ones with useful and positive help and advice.
I'm launching a Facebook group very soon for business owners to help and support each other. If you'd like to be advised when it's open and to hear about other useful hints and tips subscribe here. The above information is just scratching the surface!
If you're interested in finding out more about how I can help you take control of your life and business drop me an email to or join my mailing list.