Admit am normally more Eeyore than Tigger but today – our end of year – realise that we have actually done pretty well compared to this time last year. Felt pretty suicidal this time last year. Recession was starting to bite but, worse, was feeling absolutely alienated from my business by several, hugely subversive staff. Good staff were miserable and highly stressed, production was expensive and nowhere near the quality I wanted, and we were starting to lose huge amounts of money. Went to amazing seminar with Real Business and other entrepreneurs last autumn which revolutionised my thinking into seeing the recession as a good thing – a chance to slow down and sort out everything that had gone wrong. Took me until the New Year to find the guts to put it all into practice so losses in that first quarter will probably blow any profits out of the window for this year. However, the company today is a totally different place. The (relatively few) redundancies were a positive thing. We have restructured the business and the management team, overhauled all the systems, slashed costs, and upped quality and productivity. In the past two months alone, Second-in-Charge and I have completed the half-year staff assessments, which have highlighted happier lives and lower stress-levels. In the past two months, we have also designed, produced and photographed all the new designs for next year, re-vamped the entire customer service programme, re-jangled and recruited entire new office staff (which, I might add, I feel more enthusiastic about than any office teams I have ever had), drastically improved health and safety and continued to improve quality. Even all the year-end palaver seems to be going smoothly. Since April, we have been in profit every month. Actually, just for once, I could rest on my laurels this weekend. Perhaps, after all, I’m not too bad at doing my job.
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