What have I done when shit hits the fan? As an entrepreneur, venturing off to create something new, innovative, & excellent, shit is bound to hit the fan. Things are bound to not go as expected. You can’t plan for every possible situation, but you can be prepared to handle whatever comes your way. It’s like the early American settlers headed west along the Oregon Trail. They set off to a new place, undiscovered. They couldn’t predict when an oxen would die or famine would strike. All they could do was be prepared for whatever came their way. Meat spoils. Pull out the other food or kill an oxen to make up for it.
Similarly, I have experienced times when shit hits the fan. Sometimes it’s messier than other times. Sometimes I have been more prepared than other times. And there have definitely been times when I don’t want to clean up the mess. But I have to.
Obviously there are different degrees of things going wrong. A child dying of thyroid fever isn’t comparable to meat spoiling (or so it seems…hard to really say what it was like since my only experience was through the computer game in third grade). An equipment malfunction doesn’t bear the same consequences as losing a key employee.
I remember a time when everything was going great! Iorio’s was just featured on NPR & several emails & calls came in from folks around the country, recognizing our radio press. The next day I got a call…not about the NPR bit…not about a great experience in our store…The gelato case. The gelato case was off & all the gelato inside had melted. I was in the midst of prepping for valuations for RPM Ventures, & couldn’t get away immediately.
How to react?
There’s no “best” way. And everyone is different in how they handle shit. Some panic. Some get angry. Some are cooler than a cucumber (at least on the surface).
What do I do?
It depends. I have panicked. I have kept my cool. I have gotten angry. And sometimes combinations thereof. No matter what my initial reaction, I always like to make my way to calm & collected in order to solve problems in a rational way. I find that when I have other people to talk to about the issue at hand, I do much better. It’s good to get other perspective & another to balance your reactions. Talking through problem also helps.
In the case of the malfunctioned gelato case, I talked through the problem with the Iorio’s team member (a recent hire) & she handled it like a pro. The initial panic quickly decreased as we calmly walked through appropriate steps to take to solve the problem. Crisis handled. Why? Deep breathing & a great team.
The highs & lows are inevitable as an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur needs a good support network, especially mentors, to turn to during these times. To keep sanity & a healthy reality check.
How do you handle the times when shit hits the fan?
mel, the Venture Gal