Getting Local Businesses Back on Track


In both my role with Singleton Chamber and as a Business and Life Coach, I’m seeing daily, the tough times that local businesses have been put through, and that still lay ahead.

Before offering practical, implementable advice, I just want to say “I hear you, I see what you’re going through.   Singleton you’ve done an amazing job staying resolute, supporting each other’s businesses, and getting through these tough times!”

To think that since October 11 everything has just instantly reverted to the way things were 24 months ago, or ‘business as usual’ for our local retail and hospitality businesses is not only naive, it’s almost a contemptuous underestimation of what our business owners and staff are still going through on a daily basis.

I’d like to a look at some of the issues still being faced and some constructive ways of dealing with them, so if you’re a business owner who’s at their wit’s end…. Or one who just wants to find a better way – read on.

Confusion around Regulations

It’s challenging to stay up to date with who is allowed where, when and under what circumstances.  Rules seems to be changing regularly, and often without any logical explanation or coherence.   To compound this, many of us feel like we’ve had our rights and choices taken away which creates anger.  Business owners are likely to be on the receiving end of this frustration borne anger from both their staff and customers.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet for this scenario, and most small business owners are in business because you’re good at, or passionate about the products or services you sell – that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re set up for high stakes communications or having those tough conversations with staff and customers.

  • The things that will help you navigate these issues are:
  • Be aware that this anger is misdirected – it doesn’t belong with you!
  • Be available to listen as best you can, without trying to problem solve – a lot of the time people need to vent their frustrations, and if you calmly listen and let them have a voice, you may find some of the initial anger subsides. This is not to be confused with becoming an emotional punching bag.  If there is violent or threatening behaviour, or reoccurring manipulation – Please seek help!
  • Try and be empathetic to staff insecurities in the short term.
  • It can become overwhelming staying strong for your staff and customers. If you need to reach out and talk to someone yourself, be vulnerable.  Pick up the phone and call someone you trust, or better yep book in with a professional that will provide objective advice and alternative communication options.


Survivor Syndrome and guilt

It’s a funny old world, there are plenty of people trapped in guilt and for opposing reasons.  Some people feel guilty that their business hasn’t transitioned as well as they’d like, guilty that they’ve had to put off staff to stay afloat, or guilty about losing their business during covid.

On the other hand, there are businesses that can’t enjoy the pride they should feel about pivoting, becoming creative and resilient and growing through the pandemic.  These people are suffering from something termed ‘survivor syndrome’.  Whichever form of guilt you are feeling, be aware that it’s unnecessary and not serving you.  It may be easier said than done but try and acknowledge your guilt and leave it behind.  It has no future purpose.

Anxiety around confidence

Most of us, whether we care to admit it or not, feel some level of disruption to our plans and routines with the potential to lead to feelings of anxiousness.  The best way to restore confidence in your staff is to have open, honest conversations with them and bring them into the conversation around forward planning.

If your staff are helping set goals for the future, working toward bringing their plans to life will help rebuild a sense of confidence and control.

Another way of showing their value is to offer jobs that you may have previously outsources to team members as a chance to earn some extra money if they’re interested.  Team building exercises, or even putting half an hour aside for coffee and treats can help build confidence by showing that you care.


Looking to the future

I’m not suggesting that we’ll ever go through another pandemic in our lifetimes, but this has certainly been a shake up to the way we operate our businesses and live our lives.

Safeguarding against future catastrophes can be done in a number or ways.  The most important thing to do now is to learn from the past two years.  Ask yourself these questions:

What has worked well for your business?

Have you discovered new markets?

Will you continue to service them into the future?

Have you built up your online presence?  How can you continue growing it now?

Have you found creative ways of diversifying that you can continue to implement?

Do a SWOT analysis on your business assessing your Strengths, Weaknesses, unmet Opportunities, and future Threats to your business, ensuring you’re making the most of your capabilities.


Don’t fall back into old routines hoping for the best.

I’m currently offering a free ‘Jump Start’ assessment to 10 local businesses.  This will only take an hour or two of your time and looks at:

Your value propositions

Missed Opportunities

Where your best profits are coming from

Alternative Markets

Digital Marketing

Joint ventures

By looking at the big picture, we can find where incremental changes can lead to some big improvements for you bottom line and set goals to make them happen.

In my coaching business I know the value of goal setting, and it’s something that I’d like to share with Local Singleton businesses.

If you’re interested in one of the 10 free sessions – book now to avoid disappointment.

Click here to book in with Sue