As more and more people are laid off, and things that we used to be able to count on as sure things disappear or no longer function according to our expectations, we need to change our way of thinking, and especially our way of doing business.
Small businesses are going to start popping up everywhere. Consultants and freelancers will become increasingly popular, both as a way to find work, and as a preferred method of hiring specialists for specific work and projects so as not to have to pay for all the overhead and downtime.
This is an extremely exciting time for adept business people and entrepreneurs. For others, this may be a time of fear of change. Less and less people have the option for securing careers working for someone else that are satisfying, enriching and exciting. The people who will not merely survive, but thrive, will have an entirely different mentality.
It is a good idea to get ahead of the game now and start to prepare yourself for this inevitable work/business shift. Here are some of my tips for thriving in the new economy.
Take a tally of your strengths, gifts and talents.
Many people, myself included, have marketed ourselves into jobs that require us to continuously utilize our weaknesses, maintaining and improving them through sheer strength of will. Ironically, it is when your work consists of 80%+ of your strengths and natural talents that you will no longer fight yourself to get projects done. (Yes, the “80%+” statistic was entirely made up by yours truly. Let’s call it a ballpark number.) The quality on challenging and enjoyable projects will magically be much higher than when completing ill-fitted projects. This first step will require a collective business mind shift. Many people I have talked to do not even know their strengths, gifts and talents. Not only that, but they do not have the initiative or motivation to figure out what they are.
Use your imagination to visualize where you want to go.
The “how” is unimportant at this stage. Adding in as many details as possible is a must. When I was in grade 10 (~1990) and sitting in my Language Arts class, I was staring dreamily out the window and letting my mind wander. I got reprimanded and told to “do my work.” Fast forward 25 years and I have had an epiphany. It is precisely during those moments when I relax my mind and just stare out the window when the brilliant ideas start appearing. No wonder I had so much trouble writing back then. My dreams of becoming a writer slowly withered and died because I was not encouraged to establish daily practices that facilitate a healthy creative writing demeanour. Your imagination will be one of your most powerful tools going forward!
Incorporate human elements.
How is what you are good at also helping others or giving back to the community? Satisfying the stockholders and investors will become a less significant goal for a business. (Will future small business even have stockholders?) It is imperative that the business community not only start giving back in more real efforts, but incorporate community values in everything it does. The keyword here is “authentic” values and investments, not only what looks good on paper or in a press release.
Look for trade opportunities and cut out the cash (bypass it).
This is a tough one for me to wrap my head around; I previously adopted backward thinking about the viability of trades among the small business community because I was too busy calculating the fairness of each potential exchange. It turns out I was missing a key ingredient, in fact, the secret ingredient that makes it all work. The new business world will work because of a combination of #3 and #4 in this list. If you go about your business with the good intentions of helping others and giving back to the community, everything will even out and the entire business community will benefit and prosper from a new environment fuelled by and filled with abundance.
Eventually this will all catch on.
Let us not deceive ourselves. It is going to be a bumpy road for the majority of society to embrace this new economy. It is not how I grew up or was taught either. All I can do is be one of the first to take the leap and set an example. The more of you who are taking the same steps, the quicker the transition for our global community as a whole.
There is not a moment or day to waste. Mush!