Talk about a wild ride.

If you’re a business owner or leader, you likely feel as if you’ve been put through the wringer. We certainly feel that way.

The world came to a screeching halt on March 12, 2020. Everything changed with zero warning: ever since it’s been wave after wave after wave of difficult decisions to make.

Navigating an unknown future.

Figuring out how to keep your team employed.

Learning new ways to serve your clients while also keeping everyone safe.

Open, close, open, close. Most days, it felt like being stuck in a pinball machine bouncing in a zillion different reactions, unable to slow down or even predict what may come next.

As a result, we’ve all been stuck in a constant stress cycle: fight, flight, freeze.

Studies show that being in a state of stress affects cognition, forcing us to focus on the immediate threat and stop seeing the big picture. These last few years, strategic thinking has been hard, y’all.

After two years, whether the pandemic is technically over or not, most of us have resumed some form of normalcy.

And businesses are growing like crazy, which is good news. But business owners are also having a hard time staying on top of their growth, hiring, and onboarding. The pinging from one essential task to another continues. Despite a waning pandemic, the cycle of chaos continues.

But at MACKEY, we think it’s time to end the two-year stress cycle and hit the reset button.

It’s time to take a closer look at our businesses. What did we set out to build? And how have we veered off course in recent years?

So, let’s take a step back. Pause. Breathe. And let’s rebuild our businesses by (re)design.

But first, a scenario.

The Reactive Reality: From Humble Coffee Shop to Miserable Money Pit

Open a coffee shop, they said. It’ll be easy, they said.

And at first, it was.

You found a beautiful space. You sourced your beans. You found a dream vendor for tasty treats. You pulled in the lot at 5 am and closed up shop by 11 am. You knew your customers by name. You spent the morning drawing latte art to your favorite tunes. The only other barista on payroll was a fellow working mom. Knowing you’d built a stable, profitable business that didn’t consume your entire life felt good.

Then the pandemic hit.

When you were finally able to reopen, you were in a state of panic. The bills were piling up, and you grasped at anything that may help grow your revenue stream.

A regular, in passing, mentioned that he wished you offered some savory breakfast items.

Huh, you thought to yourself. I’ve got a toaster oven in the back. That wouldn’t be too hard.

You added a breakfast sandwich to your menu.

Unbeknownst to you, a seemingly innocent egg and cheese sammie sparks a Rube Goldberg-inspired business:

Have you ever thought about serving quiche?

You know what would be cool? A weekly avocado toast special!

I love setting up shop here in the mornings. Any chance you could stay open through lunch?

Got any whiskey? I could use an Irish coffee right about now.

Now that you have a liquor license, have you ever thought about doing Happy Hour?

If you’re open for Happy Hour, you may as well keep the drinks flowing — craft cocktails and wine-by-the-glass for the win!

After working until 3 am, you wake up bleary-eyed and realize: You’re running a completely different business than you’d envisioned. What was once a simple business, with minimal overhead, limited hours, and a skeleton crew of employees to manage, has grown into a beast of a business. Now you oversee a team of 25, your office has become a revolving door of vendors, and your expenses have skyrocketed — that liquor liability insurance is not cheap!

It’s time to make a change. If you don’t break the cycle, the cycle will break you.

We’ve Fallen Back Into Startup Hustle Habits

We always have a choice. We don’t have to say yes (even to that long-term client).

Too many of us, as the result of a two-year-long global crisis, have developed some bad business habits. Many of us are in startup hustle mode, despite being seasoned and experienced business owners. Don’t get us wrong — the startup hustle is important (and exciting!), but you don’t want to get stuck in startup mode.

But in this season of uncertainty, we’ve grown so accustomed to reacting. As a result, we’ve forgotten how to reason.

If we don’t stop and take this time to redesign our businesses, return to our intentions, and set some boundaries, we’re bound to crash.

Many of us have lost our handle on leading a business that cultivates the three freedoms of prosperity: time freedom, money freedom, and freedom from worry.

The only way to regain control and return to a place of prosperity? Hit the reset button.

Business by (Re)Design

Stop fixating on the metaphorical cheetah hiding in the bushes. Instead, it’s time to reassess and determine how we want to move forward into the future.

There’s never been a better time to reevaluate what we’re doing as business owners and leaders.

Mentally and ideologically, start with a clean slate.

If all you had was a blank piece of paper, what business would you create?

We believe the answer lies in your response to just five questions, which we call our Business by Design framework:

  1. What does your business life look like?
  2. What numbers are you trying to achieve?
  3. What products and services do you offer?
  4. What is your culture like?
  5. Who are your customers?

Lucky for you, we’ve developed a free, downloadable Business by Design Workbook to guide you through the process of resetting your business and returning to intentional and enduring growth.

Once you’ve identified where you are and where you want to be, only then can you articulate your first steps to a purpose-driven and prosperous business.