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A Game Plan for Surviving Major Chaos in Your Business

This is a special public service announcement from Young Nails. Right now, in this exact moment, it just so happens that we’re rolling up our sleeves and trying to handle a mega dose of unexpected chaos. The moment feels very big, unwieldy, and overwhelming. So rather than fall into deep panic and paralysis; I am going to slow things down a little bit and share with you my thoughts on how to work through such a painful mess. For some of you out there going through something similar, I’m right there in it with you. I hope some of what I have to say helps you power through (even if to relieve the pressure just a little bit).

It’s 9.10PM; well after closing time here at the office. Tracey and I are still here untangling this gigantic mess. We’ve been here since 7AM. There is major chaos going down at Young Nails. It’s all for a good reason: growing pains. As a company, we are experiencing a tremendous amount of growth while at the same time transitioning into a new piece of operations software. Sure, it might not sound like a big deal. And to be honest, I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t see how this was going to actually be a huge kick in the gut and it feels like all the air has been knocked out of me.

A business is a living breathing thing with a momentum all its own. While our workflow has been crippled with the software changeover; how do we keep the new orders moving forward and get things out the door at the same time? Here’s the thing, we have a business that depends on mass volumes of inventory moving through the warehouse. Each moved is dictated by the system. The daily work flow consists of sales orders, work orders, and tens of thousands of transactions each day that need to be input and processed simultaneously. Each move is easy enough but not when you are changing over to a new operations system. Figuring out how to work in the new system is like trying to land on the moon. We have a point A and we want to get to point B. We know what the mission is but there is a lot of problem solving that needs to be done before we get there. It’s a total cluster.

We’ve needed all hands on deck. We needed everyone digging in to get things done. What we got was a few people literally just walking out and leaving the company right in the middle of this insanity. Now here’s the thing, Young Nails been through this kind of madness before. Like all growing pains, it happens in spurts. What saves my sanity is knowing that it is only temporary. On top of that, our gut tells us we’ve done the right thing by upgrading the system. If you don’t change; you will cease to exist. The part that is the most painful is literally change and all its incarnations but especially retraining the entire company on ingrained behaviors. The basic way of processing transactions now requires a completely different way of working and thinking. This change is causing a major bottleneck in every area of the business. We had a really good flow before. Right now, we are at a grinding halt.

That is how we find ourselves here, at this late hour of the night; trying to finish up and close out transactions. We are working at a snail’s pace; slowly getting familiar with the new system but with each step forward, there are another 50 things going wrong. We are becoming friends with frustration and still we’re getting things done. The one thing that keeps the panic at bay is the most important thing to remember when you’re living in chaos town. Keep calm and carry on. That’s right. You cannot break through the chaos by giving in to the chaos. Instead, I am determined to stay calm, keep my senses, while operating with a very heightened sense of urgency to get through this one emergency at a time. We made tons of progress on this today. I’ve never been so proud of just being able to enter a few transactions in the system. It feels is huge. Tomorrow will be better and every day after that will improve so that we will move from a limp to a sprint.

I have solutions in place. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be transitions and problem solving around the clock, 24/7. And then there’s still other stuff and living to do. I have to go home and edit videos that need to be posted tomorrow. For me, the video posting is just as important as any other part of the business. Missing a post is not even an option. In business, there is always something else that needs to get done.

No matter what size our company is, we still go through these instances of pandemonium. We still get things get out the door. The only way we can survive is by staying calm and by attacking things one issue at a time. It’s hard to focus when everything feels like it’s falling apart. It’s hard to focus when there are a million little fires going and you feel like you have to extinguish them all at the same time. The only way to move forward is putting one fire out at a time and having a deep belief that everything is going to get done right, it’s going to be ok and that you’re going to make it through to the other side. This will all happen with time and a boat load of patience. Rather than getting overwhelmed, we use some temporary solutions to take care of business. While that is going on, we continue to chip away at fixing some of the bigger issues and problems. If you are dealing with an avalanche of chaos right now, in your personal or business life, it’s important to know that you are not the only one to ever go through this and you are not alone.

Solutions will come. You will survive and then thrive. I really believe in this approach. It works for me. And to be honest, I just want to share what’s getting me through on the day to day. It actually helps me when I talk it out and think it through. Knowing that it is only temporary and believing that I’m going to get through this. It does help manage the pain. It might sound like a lot babble but it’s what’s really happening in this moment. This is real. This is a real situation happening in real time. Thank you for sticking with me and hopefully next week I can share with you how the chaos has diminished even if it’s just a sliver.

Habib Salo, CEO
Young Nails