CWW 029I could definitely write a whole book on – when things don’t go according to plan in business.

In truth I think things more often than not, go differently in business, to what has been planned for.

For me this is one of the things I like about business. I like having to problem solve, innovate, make do or overlook a matter that isn’t pressing, to deal with what is. I think if you don’t have these skills then business probably isn’t for you, and you’re more than likely not reading this article.

I have had some truly awful experiences in business. Dishonest staff, flooded premises, theft, bomb threat, vandalism, break ins and armed robberies. Trust me – none of them were planned!


Here’s my ten best recommendations for coping when things don’t go to plan:

  1. Breathe. Simply take a moment to centre yourself and take it what’s just happened.
  2. Will it affect business today? (e.g. phones going down, computer crashing, flooded premises). If it does impact your trading day then do what you can to minimise the flow on effect. Call staff, reschedule bookings, let customers know, and work out a way a round the problem in the short term.
  3. If it doesn’t impact today – what do you need to do to solve the issue? Is it completing paperwork, paying a bill, making some phone calls, hiring an expert, or seeking advice. Once you know what you have to do, then focus on getting it done.
  4. Don’t procrastinate. There’s nothing worse than having a difficult task ahead of you, and you decide to deal with it, by not taking action. Inaction fuels our stress levels, so the sooner you can resolve a stressful to do, the better your health and well being will be.
  5. If it’s a big, complex or overwhelming issue then seek professional advice and assistance. Trust me the investment in the necessary expertise will ease your stress levels, allow you to be supported and well informed.
  6. If the issue you are resolving is going to be with you for more than a few days (business partner becoming unwell, difficult client you’ve just started a contract with, court case) put boundaries in place that keep you from pushing yourself to breaking. These might be not working in the evenings, delegating additional responsibility to staff, hiring a house cleaner, or going for a walk at lunch time. Do what it takes to keep your work commitment sustainable.
  7. Have a supportive network of business friends who understand you and your business, and who are willing to listen to what’s happening in your world. Often they will have had similar experiences and can lend you advice, with the sympathetic ear.
  8. Find something in the difficulty to be grateful for. While the computer might have crashed, your IT guy or gal was onsite within the hour to fix it. Even though part of your premises got flooded your neighbours came in and cleaned it up for you (true story in my case).
  9. Minimise alcohol, drugs, pain killers, sugar and poor food choices during periods of high stress.
  10. Don’t short change yourself on sleep. Staying up late or getting up early will not help you cope, innovate or concentrate. Make rest a priority even when your business throws you a curve ball.

Photo by: Tracy Lee Photography


About Lisa LaMaitre
Lisa LaMaitre is a Business and Health Writer, Wellness Presenter, Lifestyle Adviser, and Business Creative. She is the Managing Director of Therapy Masters, a health practice in Canberra City. As well as being the Creator of Canberra Wise Women, which is a live event sharing inspirational stories of local Canberra women.