Recently, many successful drycleaners have found themselves back at work in a very real sense of the word. It wasn’t a matter of choice; it was necessary for them to do hands-on labor to ensure the survival of the business.
Owners of small operations may have filled in at the drycleaner’s position or at the front counter to make ends meet. Larger operators may have taken over a supervisor’s responsibilities. The largest found themselves spending more time pouring over financial statements to find ways to cut costs.
Some operators credit these challenges with producing their “rebirth” into the industry. The concept of rebirth is associated with Buddhism; it indicates a shift in consciousness that forms a continuum within it. Every moment is an experience — a thought, a memory, a perception. New experiences produce continual rebirths.
The economic crisis turned out to be valuable for many drycleaners. Getting involved with the business again, owners made all sorts of discoveries. Some discovered that they’d missed the hands-on work and customer interaction. Others discovered that a few employees could have been fired long ago — and not just to save on payroll.
Others probably discovered overcharges the business incurred due to sloppy business practices. Still others found that they had more control over rents, fees and benefits than they ever dreamed possible. Economic strife created a new awareness of the business.
When revenues bounce back and costs are realigned, some will stay more closely involved; they find the business interesting, challenging and stimulating again. Those feelings will flow throughout the business and through employees, who will feel a similar sense of involvement that leads to even better ideas.
It’s never clear how long the enthusiasm will last. When the fire is out, we often revert to our old habits. That’s too bad — there will always be new threats, challenges and opportunities, and the impact one person can have on a business is enormous.
Stay focused, stay interested and stay enthused; it’s critical to your business’ continued success. Look at your re-involvement as a positive outcome of an otherwise bad situation, and the impact of your leadership will continue long after the economic crisis abates.