Now that it’s early fall, it’s time to make sure that you have a well-thought-out, fact-based, business plan. Among other things, this plan should have a realistic projected sales goal, a list of inventory needed, and purchases made that will get the inventory delivered in time to adequately stock up. The sales forecasting shouldn’t be based on emotions, unfounded dreams, or unsupported hunches. Instead, the inventory purchases should be based on historical (past) sales figures for prior holiday times, the state of the economy, (i.e. how much disposable income your store’s demographic will likely have,) as well as current sales growth and product demand. Having everything well-planned and executed in a timely manner will do a lot to reduce the upcoming holiday stress because you have taken care of what was needed.
Now that the business plan has been made and is being executed, you are ready for the second part of the upcoming “holiday de-stress plan.” This second part of the de-stress plan is just as important as the more traditional business planning with sales, purchasing, inventory and the like. Basically, the second part of the plan is this: Now that you have done your planning, it’s the time to breathe a sigh of relief and relax. Let go. If your plan is accurate, it should succeed whether you worry or not or whether you’re tense or relaxed.
To relax isn’t merely to stop thinking about your business, but also to let the tension go from your body, breathe more easily, let your heart open, your fears go, and energetically recharge yourself. There is a simple practice for achieving all of this that can be done anywhere without calling attention to yourself. To get ready for it, start by standing or sitting with both feet on the ground or floor. Hold an amethyst crystal point downward, in one or two hands to help strengthen your focus, channel violet calming and healing energy into your body and mind, and to amplify the results, wear a rose quartz stone on your heart chakra. (A 24” inch chain will hold a stone over the heart center unless your neck is large.) If you have smokey quartz anklets, wear them for gentle grounding. If not, put a small smokey quartz (or other opaque earth colored stone,) in a pocket on each side of your body. If you don’t have these stones, the practice will work anyway.
The practice is this: While grounded, feel as if your breath is flowing into your pink or green heart center, then flowing down through your soft yellow-lighted belly, and finally exhaled into the soft, velvet-brown earth through the bottoms of your feet and from the tips of your fingers. On the in-breath, feel the breath returning from the brown-velvet earth, through your feet, up through your legs and bottom spine, through your soft yellow glowing belly, and into your heart chakra. Fill your heart center with peaceful calm. Then, exhale out from the heart center. Each time that you breathe into your heart chakra and through your body, you charge yourself with love, peace, acceptance and calm. As you exhale into the earth, you release all stressful, painful, and all thoughts, even “good” thoughts, about the business. Any troublesome or painful feelings and thoughts are positively transmuted when they are released from your body and mind into the earth. As you continue to do this practice, relax your belly, the small of your back and the back of your knees. You can do this anywhere, even while standing at the counter in your store or sitting at your office desk.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that when you relax you stop paying attention to your business. After all, you are still the heart of your business, so if you remove your heart, your business will begin dying. You still have to watch it. You still have to “mind the store.” Basically, in watching your business, rather than using it as an occasion for worry or concern, you are merely making sure that the parameters of your plan are being met at designated stages or time periods. Did your sales, for example, reach the weekly goal? If not, you need to pay attention, perhaps seeing what the sales figures are for the next week. If the sales figures are not being met, at this point you need to adjust your plan. This is true with every part of your business plan: If key parts of your plan are not being realized, then in order to remain viable and profitable, these parts need changing. Mind you, you don’t want to change the whole plan, but only those parts of it that aren’t working.
There is nothing wrong with adjusting a plan. If it is complete and well thought out, it should also include back-up plans that can be used to adjust the main plan one way or another. A business plan isn’t effective if it doesn’t include any way to “tweak” the direction it is going. In the case of slower than expected sales, you may tweak the plan by cutting down your purchases, for example, so you won’t stock as much inventory, or stop hiring so much extra help, or perhaps scouting for an extra infusion of cash. Or the opposite may be true if sales are more than projected: You may have to immediately purchase more of an item since it is selling like hotcakes, for example, a trend that you see continuing. Likewise, you may need to go ahead and hire two extra people to handle the holiday rush since you noticed that more people are coming to your store.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having to adjust a plan. It’s like sailing a boat. In order to sail, you set your sail in the position that is best able to catch the wind. Then the wind can catch into the sail and power the boat. If the wind shifts, however, you have to adjust your sail to a new position in order to catch the wind from the new direction. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to be able to continue sailing. Adjusting a sail, then, is like adjusting your plan in accordance to the way that your business is going. If you don’t do this, or your plan doesn’t have the ability to adjust and remain viable, just like the sailboat won’t be able to move without the sail correctly positioned, your overall plan won’t succeed.
The key to being able to make and adjust a plan is to remain relaxed while being able to dispassionately review and accept the facts, and then make a logical, fact-based decision about any necessary adjustment. To accept the new facts, you have to be willing to let go of the old ones, (along with any need to be right.) In order to go in a new direction, whether a small diversion or a major shift, you have to be able to let go of the way things are, or the way you thought things were, and take a close look at the actual facts of the matter. While you do this, notice and let go of any fear, anger, or any other associated feelings that you may have so that they won’t interfere with your business decision. Let go of any expectancy you have and just be mindfully present. This state of mind and being is what will help you make informed planning adjustments. (Besides being practical business advice, this process is also a good meditation.)
In short, besides good planning, it helps to work with your mind and stop ruminating in order to remain peaceful during these times leading up to the holidays. Stop constantly thinking about your business. Trust that your plan is good; that you have done everything that you could to “set the stage” for a good holiday. Realize that the results, how something turns out, are really not in your hands, but in the hands of the Spirit. In fact, the more you think that the results of your planning are in your hands alone, the more pressure you will feel and the more stressed out you’ll be. All you can do is your best planning, account for adjustment, let go and trust.
All in all, if you find yourself constantly thinking about your business, second guessing your decisions, worrying about how something is going to turn out, rather than being helpful, it will just drive you nuts and you will certainly not be relaxed. If you can’t let go and bring yourself some relaxation, here is another great practice that will help you: While being centered and grounded, breathe gently and completely and then say to yourself, “I am letting go now. I trust that the Higher Spirit supports my wellbeing in my business as well as in my life.” The practice is simple and can be done anytime and anyplace, day or night. It can be done in your store, at home, while standing in lines, driving the car (don’t close your eyes), or while doing most of your daily activities. You can take even three minutes during your evening or first thing in the morning and do this as a daily meditation. The key is to remember to say it. You might carry a special stone and put it in your pocket so it will remind you each time you see or feel it. Even quicker, each time that you have a thought or worry about your business, let that thought go, stop paying attention to it, and then say to yourself just this: “Let Thy Will be Done.” With a good business plan, a certain amount of non-attachment and proper perspective, everything’s going to be fine. Don’t worry.