Even after more years in business than I care to count, reflecting on the last few months is certainly an eye-opener and a period, during which I was forced to consider my vulnerability both from a personal and business point of view, and plan for change.

I had an accident. I had a disagreement with a ladder, and found myself in hospital with broken pelvis, back and elbow.

One minute, I was rushing from task to task; thinking about the following days’ meets; clients, accountant, staff, bank; the next, literally, I was out of action, completely.

Suddenly, I had to face my own vulnerability as an employer, with a business to run, and as a person, at the mercy of fate and a team of exceptional health care professionals, and give up my control, at least for a time, to focus purely on recovery and managing the flurry of crazy thought processes in my own head.

Self-employment, for many, embodies the epitome of freedom, offering the ability to steer your business, make informed decisions, and ideally, when it all works, reap the fruits of your efforts. However, this journey also comes with its own set of vulnerabilities, particularly the fragility that accompanies unforeseen circumstances, such as an accident.

So often, it is easy to look at your current situation and never even consider that things can change quickly. Anyone who has ever watched Channel 4’s “24 Hours in A&E” will have heard numerous NHS team members saying that very thing, and then pop that thought straight to the back of your thoughts.

I found myself face-to-face with this stark reality when an accident abruptly halted my daily activities, thrusting me into a state of incapacity. In an instant, the daily meetings, deadlines, and creative brainstorms came to a grinding halt. The concern for my health and the pain was ever present, but it was the looming uncertainty about my business’s future that nagged at my spirit.

Laying in the hospital bed, the fragility of my situation became painfully clear. Unlike traditional employment, there was no safety net and no substitute ready to step into my shoes seamlessly. My business, built on the foundation of my vision and effort, could be balanced on the brink of a precipice.

In those moments of doubt, I realised both immediately and ongoing, the importance of having a robust, reliable and trusted team. This team, a diverse group of talented and dedicated individuals, stepped up in ways I could never have anticipated. They didn’t just manage the day-to-day operations; they embodied the very essence of the business, ensuring that it continued to thrive in my absence.

Without my intervention they collectively formed a united front, working together to ensure that the trust and relationships we had built over the years, were maintained and even grew; tackling unexpected challenges with a calm and methodical approach. The entire team, from the creative minds to the operational backbone, displayed a unity and commitment that left me both humbled and deeply grateful.

Their collective efforts were not just about keeping the business afloat; they infused a renewed sense of purpose and resilience into the company. They collaborated, communicated, and coordinated with an intensity that reflected their dedication to the business and to me. They reminded me that while running your own business may seem solitary, it is, in fact, a collective endeavour.

The experience also taught me valuable lessons about leadership and the importance of delegation. Further trusting my team, allowing them to take ownership, and giving them the space to innovate and lead were crucial. It was a humbling realisation that the business was not just mine; it was a shared entity nurtured by each member’s passion and hard work.

As I slowly recovered, I returned to a business that had not just survived but had thrived in my absence. The accident, though a significant setback, became a testament to the strength and resilience of my excellent team. To them I can only say a massive THANK YOU!

I have been doing much reflection and this journey has reinforced my belief in the power of collaboration and the importance of building a supportive, resilient workforce. Managing your own business may be fraught with uncertainties, but with a great team, those uncertainties transform into opportunities for growth and strength. It is a reminder that while individual effort ignites the spark, it is the collective force that sustains the flame.

If I have any moral from this experience, or advice which I can pass on to anyone running a business, it would simply be, have a contingency plan, it really can happen to you!


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