One of my secret pleasures, when I’m not busy running a business, is to read novels set in a post-apocalyptic world. I can sit in my armchair and follow the protagonists, as they try to make sense of a changing world where they are in danger and have to find new ways of surviving. I’ve just been enjoying The Book of the Unnamed Midwife if you want a recommendation for scary bedtime reading.
While you might not have to deal with zombies chasing you down the road, or finding a stash of tins so you can eat today, running a business can be a bit like the experiences in these novels.
Find other survivors
When we’re running a business, we’re often in an unfamiliar world, where we don’t understand the rules. And the rules change as we go along. Plus, of course, we’re running the business to survive, to create enough money to be able to pay for food and shelter.
Usually, these kinds of books have the plucky hero meeting up with some other survivors so that they can combine efforts. That’s a bit like recruiting staff or doing joint projects with another business. You need to have the right people with you, or your business isn’t going to make it through the next few months.
Know your enemies
And you’ll meet with enemies, who will be out to get you. They’ll want to take what’s yours. HMRC might not have a knife to your throat, but they will come after you if you don’t pay your tribute…I mean VAT bill.
And your competitors will try to take over your space in the market, offering the same thing as you to your customers, or pushing you down the google ranking because they’ve done better search engine optimisation than you.
Find your guide
The successful survivor of the apocalypse is usually someone who meets a helpful person to guide them on the way. Someone who knows the route, and can look out for the dangers. And the successful business owner is usually someone who has got it together to get the right kind of advice and support to protect them from hazards and ward off the competition.
If you’re ready to face your business zombies, book in a coffee and cake with me. I might not be able to help you fight zombies or breaking into abandoned warehouses but I can give you the support you need to run a successful business.
Some more post-apocalyptic reading for you: