How to survive a really crap week…!

Last week was just that, a really crap week! I can’t put my finger on exactly why but for a variety of different reasons I didn’t achieve what I’d hoped to, I didn’t have that ‘wow’ passionate feeling about my business choices all week, I know I focused far too much on what other people were doing and how they seemed to be achieving goal after goal as if they were lined up at a net without a keeper. But do you know what, it’s OK?!

It really is, and I’d have to say that my one success of the week is that I have come out of it knowing that whilst it was a crap week, I know it’s just one week out of my journey and one week will not define the experience or my success.

I don’t want you to think I’m doing the dramatic ‘aww poor me’ attention seeking thing that so many people do, I want to explain why having a bad day, week or even month is OK, in fact, it’s probably a good thing. Sounds daft I know but allowing yourself to experience periods when you’re not so buoyantly enthusiastic about everything means that you value it all the more when you are and when you genuinely feel it.

If next week is just as bad or worse, I will have to look at why and investigate what I’m doing that I could change. Notice I’ve placed the emphasis on me and making a change not what I’m doing wrong. It’s important that we recognise that as small business one of our main superpowers is that we have ultimate decision making capacity, we are in charge of our own destiny. Each decision doesn’t have to be scrutinised by middle management in different departments only to be lost on a senior manager’s desk for sign off, no, we can make a decision and make it happen!

Also, I said ‘change’ not ‘what I’m doing wrong’ as I don’t believe that it is healthy or beneficial to small businesses to view things that aren’t going exactly to plan as things that they have done wrong, beating yourself up about situations that have occurred even though you used your best judgement at the time will simply leave a negative trace on your emotions about your business. It’s best to accept that they are just not working for the business at that point in time and it’s time to work out what needs changing and to implement that change with the minimum of fuss. On the Entrepreneurial Spark programme and according to the principals in “The Lean Start-up” by Eric Rees, it’s called pivoting. Whatever you call it, it’s crucial to be constantly analysing your small business to see what’s working for you and for your customers and being open to changing what isn’t.

We have the power to fix a situation, to make a decision and implement it quickly so let’s use it! Have a great week…

Lucy

Lubylu Ltd www.lubylu.com

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Turning a negative into positive motivation.

I know as part of my ‘e-spark’ journey I will be asked to look at my motivation for wanting a place on the programme and a desk in the Hub and it got me thinking as to why I feel Lubylu® and I deserve the opportunity.

I can’t move too far away from the fact that for quite a while now I have known deep down in my soul that Lubylu® is destined to be a well-known household name brand in the world of home fragrance and possibly even bath and body. I know that Lubylu® will achieve respect for what is created, how the business is run and the support and opportunities that will be afforded to others, but there’s something else, something a little more personal if I’m honest.

I want to do it just to bloody well show that I can! To prove to people that a business where you make lovely scented products, create beautiful bath body and home décor items and basically have fun with fragrance, colour and glitter can have a significantly positive economic and social impact on the community. I wanted to show that I can run a business and that I can do it well. I am proud of what I have achieved so far and I’m even learning to be quite vocal about how proud I am of myself and my business.

A comment was made to me quite innocently back in summer of 2016 when I moved into my lovely new workshop / office at Church Fenton. It was a huge step for me, now I have actual bills to pay and what was essentially a hobby business became a proper ‘grown up’ business that has to make money to keep going. One of the guys from one of the other businesses, a much more well established business, in that actually employs people and have engineers and everything, threw away a comment to me in chatting of ‘I assume your business isn’t one that pays the bills for your family’. Now I know he didn’t mean to be condescending or to devalue my business at all, he really didn’t see that what he said was negative but it made me take a step back, deep breath and politely reply that my business does OK thanks and I very much enjoy what I do. I couldn’t think of much else to say without going into the details of how Mr P and I split our family finances and I don’t really see that as anyone else’s concern.

This negative comment and assumption that Lubylu® is just a ‘little’ business that me, as the wife, potters about at just to keep me busy, has spurred me on to prove him and anyone else who thinks that wrong. It’s made me even more determined that one day soon Lubylu® will be a desirable sought after product and brand, one of the ones that people recommend to their friends and love giving as gifts.

It seems that I’ll have quite a bit to say when I’m next asked what my motivation for developing Lubylu® is! 😉

Lucy
Chief Glitter Sprinkler
Lubylu Ltd
www.lubylu.com

I am my own worst enemy

The first weekend in December means two things; it’s Small Business Saturday but also, for a 10 year old who is more excited about Christmas than a newly released vlog from Zoella and Alfie, it’s the weekend that Christmas decorations simply MUST be put up!

I made a decision to choose to spend the day with Pipsqueak, putting trees up, spraying fake snow on the windows, testing lights, buying more lights and of course more ornaments, instead of selling my handmade wares at a local event. ‘You’re crazy’ I hear you all gasp, and that’s what I thought several times, albeit briefly, today at various points as I made the mistake of checking social media and seeing how fabulous a time Small Business Buddies were having at their Christmas events.

But then I reminded myself that part of the reason I wanted to run my own business was to be able to make my own decisions, whether good or bad, they are my decisions and they are whatever I feel is best for my family at whatever point in time. For a tweenager, soon to be at high school, I made the decision that making this Christmas extra special and just a little bit magical, was more important than sales at an event.

Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t have one of those Disney film Christmas days whereby everyone pulls together, decorates the tree watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, shares a laugh, a tear and generally finds the long lost underlying meaning of Christmas but we did have a day together, minimal phone input and we’re still friends at bedtime which I take to be a success these days! I did try watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but I couldn’t get into it so I put St. Elmo’s Fire on instead, it’s more my era!

I think what I’m trying to convey is that we all do what we do for a reason. Whether it be working for a global corporate conglomerate, cleaning floors or running our own small business but as long as the decisions we make are ours to make and we make them for the right reason we can consider ourselves successful. I need to remind myself of this when I doubt myself as indeed, I am my own worst enemy…

#smallbusinesssaturday #handmade #ilovemyjob #shoplocal

 

Lucy

Chief Glitter Sprinkler

Lubylu Ltd

http://www.lubylu..com

Running 10k is like running a business!

running

I ran my last 10k while in my 30’s this morning. I make it sound like it’s something I do all the time but actually it’s only my 3rd ever 10k race. I didn’t do it in any earth shattering, record breaking time but I did it (1hr 3mins and that is my personal best). There were about 500 other runners all doing their thing for their own reasons whether it be to raise money or for personal fitness goals, we were all there, with our lycra on, running apps at the ready, prepared to challenge ourselves on a lovely Sunday morning in October.

Obviously it gave me an hour to think (during the parts when I wasn’t having to solely concentrate on just breathing in and out!) and made me realise that all the runners could represent businesses and the market place in general. We’re all there with our own agendas, business plans, goals and missions but the actual end game, to make money, is the same. Some businesses may be seeking to make money for good causes to give back to communities whilst other may have the goal of being able to buy their CEO a new helicopter but the basic mission is the same, make money.

All the runners had very different styles – yes I did people watch whilst running, I couldn’t help it! There are those who are very determined, focused individuals who have clearly trained extremely hard and are ready to do a paltry 10k in about 30mins. They know what needs doing and they are the people to do it. There are business owners like that too and sometimes they can make people like me feel quite inferior, they don’t mean to but by their sheer confidence in their own abilities they seem to over shadow those of us who prefer to take a slower more subtle approach to things. Neither is right nor wrong but it doesn’t hurt for the less out-going of us to remember that we’re all going in the same direction and we will get there too, we maybe get enjoy the scenery a bit more along the way as we travel at a steadier pace!

I loved the runners who were a little more flamboyant in their running style, hands waving, listening to music and just doing their own sweet thing (think Phoebe from Friends in that episode where she and Rachel go running in Central Park!) They were enjoying the journey and their participation in it just as some more quirky business leaders run their business in a slightly less than conventional manner. They maybe take more risks and do things a little differently but that’s great, by their trialling new and innovative business methods, some which will be amazing successes, some maybe not so much, we all get to learn and develop new strategies for growing our businesses and potentially new products and market places to enter.

I also realised that my position in the run overall was synonymous with my business and how I feel about it especially at the moment. At about 4k, there were loads of people ahead of me and probably a few people behind me, but that didn’t matter at all, what really matters is I was there! I got up, I showed I up and I was doing it my way, I was enjoying it (even the hills which were hard work). I didn’t stop going forwards and I reached the end, just as everyone else did, and I think even managed to do it with a smile on my face!

Off the grid

special skipsea stones
Far Grange View
Who needs the Med?

We’ve just got back from a week away at the East Coast staying at a Holiday Home Park (an exclusive caravan park with fantastic facilities) where phone signals are weak and intermittent, 4 or even 3G data services are virtually none existent, as for widespread wifi, you’ll waste a lot of battery life searching unsuccessfully for one!

Sounds terrible at first BUT it’s actually been quite cathartic. Without constant contact with the outside world, the background noise of other people’s status updates, tweets and checkins we’ve been able to slow down, relax and do the things we want to do when we want to do them, the only time constraint being the onsite swimming timetable. We’ve been to a rock factory where the kids have made rock (it’s harder to roll molten sugar then you think, kudos to the people who do it all day, everyday!) and chocolate lollies, walks on the beach looking for the perfect stones to paint and ‘special’ shells which absolutely must be brought back with us. Pipsqueak has spent most of the week outside playing, running around and properly playing, like kids should be able to do in the summer holidays.

We’ve even had to talk to each other, proper conversations involving hopes and dreams for the future, plans and aspirations, the sort of topics you never seem to find the time for when your everyday life of work, school, childcare, running a home, is rushing about around you. Mr P is self employed as well so we rarely find the time to discuss the futures of our businesses to make sure that we are on track and actually heading in the right and same direction.

It’s been good to have some ‘down time’, time and head space for thought, reflection and conversation. It’s certainly given us as a family the renewed energy and impetus to drive our businesses forward and an understanding of where we are heading. Now safely back in the land of fibre optic, satellite TV and a decent mobile phone signal, I find myself reaching for my phone to see what the latest bleep, bing or ping from it actually signifies but stopping myself and wondering if it really matters to what I’m currently doing; chances are it doesn’t and it can wait, just a little bit, until I’m ready to give it my full attention. How long this restraint against instant technology will last, I don’t know, but so far so good and my levels of concentration are much improved!

http://www.lubylu.com

The way you make me feel

Not me exactly but people in general. The late Maya Angelou said ‘…people will never forget how you made them feel’ and I’ve come to realise recently that she is absolutely right.

When you meet people, work with them, spend any time with them at all, the residual feelings tend to be more about who you are than what you said or did, this is the same when you move on to a new business role or a different company. People may not remember every project you worked on – each success or failure you experienced (they tend to remember the failures more but that’s another story), but they will recall what kind of person you are, how you conducted yourself and how you made them feel about themselves.

I remember a lot about the many people I’ve worked with and for at the different companies I’ve experienced, thankfully most of the memories are positive. All of the experiences have allowed me to learn! There have of course been a few colleagues and managers along the way who have made me feel disappointed; those for whom their personal values aren’t in line with mine, their work ethic and manners. The way they treat others fall short of how I expect grown ups to behave…. I am lucky enough though to have (in the main) mostly met people who are extremely empowering; giving others the tools and self-belief to be the best they possibly can. I have had the privilege to have experienced some excellent managers who truly made me feel valued and supported, and allowed me to flourish in my role. As I said, it’s the way they made me feel that I remember, not the individual projects we worked on together (although driving round Silverstone in a Ginetta G40 is an amazing experience I will never forget ).

With this being the case, surely it’s important that we act, in the work place, the home, our lives in general, in a way in which we would want to be remembered for. We should be kind, thoughtful, considerate and accepting of compromise where possible – all the behaviours we try to teach our children from a very early age. It seems to me that too many large businesses and corporations, and their ‘corporate’ employees, view situations solely in relation to ‘the bottom line’ or their business results when all the while business should be about people. Business, whether B2B or B2C involves contact with very real people who all have their own lives, emotions, issues and values, which should be respected.

I’m not saying that we should compromise our own ideas and beliefs for the sake of others’ but that we should do our best to consider how our words and actions may affect those with whom we do business. Just take extra second to pause for thought and think, ‘Do I want to be remembered for this….?’