I’ve been a small business owner for more than 30 years. When I first started out I ran a fashion business and travelled the length and breadth of the UK, showing other small (and large) businesses my samples, liaising with home workers and factories and exhibiting at fashion trade shows. Whilst I was successful and I enjoyed it, the recession of the 80’s led to me reluctantly giving up my small business. For a short while I worked for someone else before considering what I really wanted to do next.
I loved working with different people and having a flexible approach to work so I looked again for a new purpose and business opportunity. When a friend told me that she’d qualified as I reflexologist, I decided to explore this option and soon signed up to train as a complementary therapist and then a hypnotherapist.
Over the years I’ve had practices in many different locations; from renting rooms in gyms and beauty salons before taking on a lease for my current premises; my therapy centre in Durnsford Rd, Wimbledon Park.
I recently became aware of the Small Business Saturday, a grass-roots campaign that celebrates small businesses and encourages people to “shop small” and it’s inspired me to write about one of the most important traits anyone, not just a small business owner can possess. That is to be resilient.
As a small business owner I know that life is not always smooth, there are bills to be paid, clients to be looked after and unforeseen expenses. Just recently a police car on a high-speed chase crashed into the front of my centre and I’ve had to be resilient and creative and make things work as best they can and keep the business open.
Thankfully resilience is a skill that you can learn; it’s not an innate talent that people have from birth. Many of us have a habit of continually thinking about something that has gone wrong or is worrying us, but instead of thinking of solutions we are continually revisiting the problem. By focusing our attention and spending just a few 20-minute sessions writing about the issue, our thoughts and feelings and where we would like to be instead we can change how we feel about the situation. By giving a structure to the process and the time to reflect only on that issue we can exercise the creativity of our minds.
Our challenges can leave us feeling as though we are alone in the world, so it’s always beneficial to take the time to reach out and connect with others. By cultivating a strong community, “shopping small” and really getting to know the people and businesses in your neighbourhood you’ll learn that there are people that you can count on in times of struggle and that will help you feel more resilient. This is a lesson that I’ve learned in my years of small business ownership which has spread into my daily life.