"What makes a man, Mr. Lebowski?...Is it being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost? Isn't that what makes a man?"
The above quote from 1998's Coen Brothers comedy "The Big Lebowski" frames a rather interesting challenge. Do you have what it takes to do what is necessary, especially if something is personal to you? I'll share my own experience with you as a living example in hopes to bolster the resolve of others to do what needs done. Or, if read proactively, to understand that like this movie, everything isn't as it seems.
Two years ago I was able to expand my store into a large retail outlet and tournament facility. With both my numbers looking good and a generous offer on overhead, I took up the expansion. The store grew, our lines expanded, and we saw an influx of new players. But, such as things are, both time and money grew scarcer among the customer base. People move, jobs are lost, hours cut, interests shift, or the general woes of the seasonal/at-large economy settle in. On my behalf lines that were brought in didn't sustain themselves and other economic decisions that were good then, aren't good now no matter how hard you stick to your guns.
So...it was determined that it is time to prune back a bit.
Facing the fact that things aren't as you wish them to be can be tough, especially with so much more than money invested in what you do! That's putting it lightly. What do I do? How do I wind things down? More importantly...how do you stay positive through this troubling time? There's the rub. Especially if you operate a small business where you are the face and feeling of the operation. If your passion drains, if your smile fades, that of your second self - your store - does too. Customers may have concerns or even feel let down that there is seemingly bad news.
The answer? Well, I'm no self-help guru with mystic words or a fancy plan. I simply looked in the mirror and verbally came to terms with the loss of the expansion. After venting and shedding some manly tears I felt better and could think better about the direction things would take. It isn't the end of the world, in fact the business is still in business! Yeah, not bad, just different.
From there it starts and the confidence comes back. Especially after talking to other business owners who have been doing it longer than you have. Things like this happen, it's needed time and again, and/or using National Novel Writing Month (Na-No-Wri-Mo) as an example - your first draft will always need shoring up. It happens to big businesses, it happens to small, and we even take reflection and redirection personally whether the fault is internal or external.
So please, don't despair. If times are tough do what you have to do. Reexamine your budget. Send out hand-written cards instead of gifts for Christmas. Try what you have been doing in a new way to see if that helps. Just please don't underestimate the power of talking to others who have been through it for consolation and advice. If needed, you can also emulate Big Lebowski's words (I won't tell anyone!):
"Are you surprised at my tears, sir?...Strong men also cry, strong men also cry."