Fortifying, Shifting and Getting Through

When you’re facing business challenges, it can be, well, challenging. But there are solutions to every one of the challenges you face. It’s just a matter of honest assessment, planning, and implementing the right solutions.

When it comes to managing a business through a personal crisis, things can get a little trickier. In these cases, it often becomes a matter of fortifying, shifting, and just getting through.

I’m very familiar with fortifying, shifting, and getting through. Two years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with aggressive tumors. They weren’t cancerous, but they were fast growing, causing constant pain, and threatening the stability of her spine. It was a scary, stressful time as we dealt with the urgency of the situation and traveled around the country trying to find doctors who could (and would) help.

Now, two years later, my husband is facing a health crisis that no family ever wants to face. Cancer.

When facing these types of situations, one quickly realizes there are practical considerations with respect to owning a business that have to be dealt with, in addition to the personal upheaval and emotional turmoil serious illness brings.

Most of us will face some sort of personal challenge that affects our business at some point – like divorce, serious illness, or death of a loved one. There are no easy answers for keeping everything running when the majority of our time and energy needs to go to an urgent life situation. It’s not quite as cut-and-dry as just fixing what’s not working in a business. Managing a business through a personal crisis is perhaps the most challenging scenario a business owner can face, but it can be done.

What I learned from that first situation helped me fortify myself and my business for the current situation I’m facing. And I’d like to share my insights from going through some very difficult times with you.


When managing a business through a personal crisis, it helps if you’ve anticipated and included solutions for various scenarios in your planning. There are things you can do now to fortify your business, so business can go on (at some level) if the unthinkable happens.

First, if you’re trying to do it all yourself and you are the business, consider what systems and processes you could put in place to standardize the running of daily operations. It’s also a good idea to have someone, either a personal/virtual assistant, business manager, or someone else you trust, who has an understanding of how everything works and is able to step in if needed.

You should also consider what could be outsourced, so someone else can take the load off you during “normal” times as well as times of increased stress or intense distractions. We’ve looked at outsourcing before, from the perspective of you being able to work within your strengths, but there’s clearly a benefit to outsourcing to allow the business to keep going in times of overwhelming personal challenges too.

Another thing to consider is developing passive forms of income. This is not really my area of expertise, but it’s definitely something I started working on for my own business after my daughter’s illness.

For example, if you’re a coach, consultant, or something similar, you might want to develop programs that you deliver virtually. It’s a great way to continue serving clients, even when you may not be able to be physically present.

There are a number of excellent resources out there to help you design these types of programs and self-sustaining scenarios. It’s just a matter of thinking through how that could work, what it would look like, and putting a plan in motion.

Any one (or all) of these suggestions could help you fortify your business before you find yourself in a difficult personal situation, if you plan ahead and start putting them in place now.


When managing a business through a personal crisis, there’s a certain level of shifting involved in terms of mindset, expectations and priorities. Let go of any guilt, be kind to yourself, and cut yourself some slack.

Accepting that things are going to be disrupted and business will be affected to some degree can ease a lot of the stress on the business side. Taking a look at what the priorities are – what HAS to be done versus what we would choose to focus on if things were “normal” – can also ease some stress. Adopt a “do your best and let go of the rest” mindset and cut yourself some slack for not functioning at 100 percent. All these are important during difficult times.

Getting Through

There’s always a certain amount of just getting through when managing a business through a personal crisis. Taking care of yourself, thinking through how you will communicate what’s going on with clients, and reaching out to your support system are important pieces of dealing with stressful, personal situations.

I recently read an article on Entrepreneur.com that offers what I consider some solid guidance for navigating a personal crisis in the context of business.

When it comes to communicating what’s going on with clients, the author recommends that we be honest and let them know what’s going on. That way, if there are lapses in the service you offer them they’ll know why. Most people will be understanding. After all, we’re all only human and anything you might be going through is certainly something they’ve either been through themselves or may go through in the future. It also honors the relationship you’ve hopefully cultivated with your clients.

This all brings me once again to perhaps the most meaningful bit of advice I could give anyone who might be going through a difficult time. The Experts for Entrepreneurs motto “Don’t fly alone” is a good one to adopt.

Developing relationships and having a solid support system in place is as important on the business side as it is on the personal side. Depending on what the situation is, there’s a chance you’ll have to find ways to be productive in spite of what’s swirling around you in your personal life. Call on your network of colleagues and friends to help get you through… even if it’s just for a chance to have lunch, talk, or laugh and set concerns aside for an hour.

But remember, associates and colleagues can also be great sources of practical help too. We’re always stronger when great minds come together and bring their wisdom and expertise to problem solving, whether we’re trying to figure out how to grow our business in good times or managing a business through a personal crisis.

In my years as a business owner and Productivity and Profit Specialist, I’ve found these strategies for managing the personal challenges in life that affect our businesses to be extremely helpful. We just have to anticipate what we hope will never happen, plan and prepare, just in case. A little bit of forethought, and being kind to ourselves if the unthinkable happens, can get us through.


Want to fortify your business and plan for whatever the future might bring? I can help with that! Contact me now and we’ll find the solutions that are right for you and your business.