How To Triumph Over Adversity

3 MIN READ

I was talking recently with someone who asked me how I turned my business around after I lost Alec. This is a complex question, but one that I love sharing because it shows the practical steps I took to follow my passion. I had been left with a large pile of invoices that simply couldn’t be paid, and faced the very real threat of bankruptcy. These are the first few things I learned about triumphing over adversity in business:

  1. Invest in Systems

They say it takes money to make money, but when you find your cashflow choking on debt, it is difficult to see any expenditure as an investment. I did divert some of the business revenue towards financial recovery, but every cent was put towards the development of infrastructure. My husband was a lover of sales and chaser of transactions, but a systems man, he was not! Our work was a nightmare and life had already been chaotic, even while he was still alive. I had to change everything.

One of the key things that needed to change was the management of our stock levels and order fulfilment processes. We had grown this business literally from scratch in our suburban garage years earlier, and still relied heavily on manual systems in our warehouse. This had always cost us a lot because the way we worked created confusion, and left room for error, and wasted a lot of precious time. Until now, we had always just put up with it. Necessity is the mother of invention. I was desperate to fix the unworkable situation I faced. So I took a deep breath and said goodbye to our old ways. Then I purchased and worked with my developer to install a new warehousing and inventory software.
The software told me how to make better choices about how much stock I ordered from suppliers, and at what time. It also gave us the tool we needed to implement a locations system in our warehouse. With this new technology I bought only the stock I needed, and I didn’t lose track of it when it arrived.
2. Persist Towards Progress
The benefits were great, but the set up was harrowing. Installing this system was a nightmare that started with website crashes and continued with the stress that comes from trying to learn something new. This is always challenging, but this particular learning phase was made even more difficult because the software creators were in France and offered no support whatsoever. The manual for the software was in dodgy broken English and relied on the user being familiar with inventory management concepts in the first place.
It was a terrifying season to endure. When you feel like your ‘strategic steps’ have broken your website, and when you are trying to figure out how to use a warehouse system that actually hides stock and quantities from you because it isn’t working properly, the adversity feels like it is triumphing over you.  With help from my warehouse assistant for the first few weeks, and the support of a couple of different website developers as well, things eventually started to settle down. Now it all runs as clean as a whistle.
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My son Zac saved the day with his amazing software skills

3. Accept Help From People Who Love You

This phase of my life rebuild would make a great montage scene. After losing Alec, and then my two remaining team members, I was left sorely needing help to get this warehouse up to scratch. My two sisters travelled from interstate to help me, and my son Zac, who was 19 at the time also pitched in. I also managed to recruit the help of other friends, and friends of friends, to get the job done. Their support was largely random and unpredictable, but it was better than nothing. This craziness was like compiling a patchwork quilt, stitching together everything you can find to create something new.
Be Grateful 

I am always grateful for the obstacles that come up because they accelerate my growth. Challenges push me through cycles of development that I need to prepare for the next unexpected twist that life will inevitably throw at me. This is not to say that I look forward to the next hardship. Rather, I am filled with optimism when they come. We learn how to triumph over adversity by triumphing over adversity.

 

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