Ep #75: The How to Rally Interview

 In Podcast

In today’s “How to Rally” interview, Kris talks with clients Laura Patrick, Jennifer Hood and Kira DeRito about what it’s been like for them to negotiate the challenges that COVID has presented to their businesses and to them as female founders.

LAURA PATRICK

Laura Patrick

Laura Patrick was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC Canada. She is the founder and owner of Kids Physio Group – Canada’s largest chain of private pediatric physical therapy clinics.

With a passion for sports, she first graduated from UBC’s Human Kinetics (Exercise Science) program in 2001 before continuing on to receive her Masters in Physiotherapy from McMaster University in 2003.

Laura founded Kids Physio Group in 2006 in the humblest of surroundings.

After 3 years working in the public system with school-aged kids, she recognized a need for all children to have access to trained pediatric physiotherapists in clinic space designed just for them.

 

JENNIFER HOOD

Jennifer Hood, Owner/Director of Jump Gymnastics

Jennifer Hood has over 25 years experience working in gymnastics organizations across Canada and is a certified teacher, specializing in primary education.

She is passionate about developing active programming for young children. In 2008, Jen opened Jump Gymnastics and it quickly became a destination for parents from across Vancouver. In 2014, Jen opened Jump’s second location in North Van and partnered with Kids Physio Group. Today Jump programs reach more than 1000 preschool kids a week.

Jen is currently using her unique skill-set in Physical Literacy development to consult for organizations such as Gymnastics Canada and Sport For Life as well as growing a volunteer program to get the next generation excited about building active communities.

 

KIRA DERITO

Kira DeRito

Kira DeRito and her husband, Tony, created Olympia Seafood in 1999. In the early days, they only offered live crab out the back door, but after a remodel of the building, the front door opened officially in August of 2000.

Tony and Kira have been there from the beginning, and their daughter, Sailor, joined the family business when she was born in 2002. Sailor’s Grandpa and her Uncles are commercial fishermen with over 40 years of experience in Dungeness crab and wild salmon harvesting and often supply directly to Olympia Seafood.

The DeRitos pride themselves on serving Olympia and the surrounding areas with the absolute best quality local and exotic seafood available. Their eye is always on sustainable, healthy seafood options so patrons can feel confident making a choice to shop with them. Friendly, knowledgeable service is their goal, and they work hard to make sure everyone’s seafood experience is an outstanding one.

 

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. What each business owner’s thoughts were when all of the COVID stuff started.
  2. Things that they have done for themselves to help navigate the moment.
  3. What unexpected benefits or by-products resulted from the whole thing.
  4. How each business owner pivoted and what adaptations they made to their business models that helped.
  5. Advice for the woman who is listening, who’s still in it and needs some wisdom about how to rally and what to do next.

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Podcast Transcript

Kris:

Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Wanting a million-dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Kris:

Hello and welcome to the podcast. So excited to share this podcast with you this week. This week I have three of my amazing clients with me talking about how to rally. As all of us know, the last 12 weeks now have been unprecedented. I’m sure we’ve all heard that word so many times. In fact, I read a tweet the other day that said I’d like to go back to precedented times, sort of unprecedented. I just love that. So this week I did an interview with Jennifer Hood of Jump Gymnastics, which is up in Vancouver, Washington. As well as Laura Patrick, who was also in Vancouver. She has Kids Physio, which is a physical therapy or physiotherapy, a franchise that is offered up in the Vancouver area. And, Kira DeRito, and Kira is the owner of Olympia Seafood in Washington State.

Kris:

And the three of us on this podcast have a lovely conversation. I think a pretty powerful conversation about what it’s been like for them to negotiate the challenges that COVID has presented to their business and to them as female founders. I specifically chose Laura, Jen and Kira, because they have public facing brick and mortar businesses. I know for some people who have online businesses, they haven’t really felt the financial or client dip impact that the brick and mortars have. Not to mention just the physical challenges of having to really reframe and rebuild in some cases and retool the whole operation or in like Laura and Jen’s case, completely closing down altogether.

Kris:

So I think you’ll find in our conversation, we have some surprising insights, some things that you didn’t expect, I wanted to ask them and did, what have they learned most? What happened that they didn’t expect and really, how did they process this whole experience? I’m really, really honored to have had this conversation with them. And just as I feel every day, every week of my life, I feel so honored to work with the women I work with who are doing amazing work, working so hard in the world to realize their dream and provide a service, a product, an experience, to other people that they’re passionate about. So let’s go ahead and tune into the conversation.

 

Kris:

All right. You guys am so glad that you’re here today. Thank you so much for joining me. This podcast, as I mentioned, is all about how to rally and I love all three of you. I have so enjoyed my work with each of you in different ways and have watched all three of you move through this pandemic moments, in your own way. And very well, as far as I can tell, I know everybody’s had moments, several end of talking about, everybody’s raising their hands, you can’t see that as you’re listening. But that doesn’t mean … You’re human, and it’s part of the process is to freak out and not know what to do next. And of course we talked about all along. Like nobody even knows what the freaking rules are. We’re all just figuring this out as we go along.

Kris:

So what I’d love to do is just start with each of you and really ask that first question. Like I have a very vivid memory of where I was when I realized what was coming, but I’m curious what your initial thoughts were. So Kira, I’ll start with you, what were your initial thoughts when you knew you were going to have to adjust how you ran your business?

Kira:

Yeah. And we’re a little crazy. Hello everybody. I’m Kira from the Olympia Seafood Company and we’re in Olympia, Washington. We’ve just got a little retail seafood market there. I think my initial thoughts were kind of the panic, we’ve got major problems on our hands and we have no idea what’s going to happen that I think most people had. I just came across some notes that I had left for my team at the very beginning of all of this. And I had forgotten at one point we completely closed the lobby of our business. And only for a week, we only helped people outside on the sidewalk. And that had kind of slipped my mind that we had even done that. I’m already starting to forget. Maybe it’s quite-

Kris:

It’s probably good. Yeah. We want to probably forget some of it.

Kira:

Right. I know. Like some of the crazy things we tried in the very beginning. So yeah, my initial thoughts were, we’re all going to die. That kind of sky is falling type thoughts.

Kris:

You don’t have a huge building, right? You really did have to think about how you were going to handle people coming in and out. Right?

Kira:

Right. We don’t. And in fact, we allow three customers in our lobby at a time. We typically have a giant line down the sidewalk outside, especially on the weekends during our busier days. Yeah, three at a time right now, because that’s about how much space we have for customers to be comfortable inside the shop.

Kris:

It’s so good. I have to tell you just this weekend, my husband and I went to a restaurant, it’s not a restaurant, it’s a sandwich shop, here in town and it’s a franchise. And we went in there and we thought, for sure, they would … I’ve to work with all of you guys for so long. And my husband, who’s very thoughtful about how he’s running his business. And we walked in, and it was a free for all. There were like 30 people in this small space. And I was like, “I don’t think this is supposed to be happening.” I know Kira wouldn’t be doing her shop like this.

Kira:

No. We’ve had a lot of feedback about that too. And we tried to start with, we just had a sign out front that said only three people at a time, and that did not work. We now have a dedicated door person that just stands at the door all day long and tells people that either wait for a moment and to come on in when there’s room for them, because people will not self-regulate that. Customer just don’t.

Kris:

Yeah. Which kind of echoes some of the things in advance of what we’re going to talk about, which is that leadership like really how to own what you’re going to do as a business owner and put the processes in place. Okay. Laura Patrick, tell us what were you thinking?

Laura:

First, let’s start with what my business is. But I was really sad. I was really sad. My name is Laura Patrick, and I am a physical therapist or physiotherapist here in Canada, we call it. And I own a company called Kids Physio Group. So it’s a children’s based physical therapy practice. And so we just see kid in our facility and many of our kids are immunocompromised. And so I think there was a bit of a sadness for me because I don’t know that I ever could have imagined going into a professional career. So going to school for an awfully long time and ever being unemployed. And so I was feeling that sadness for my team. We have 50 people on the team and 28 or 30 physiotherapists. And for any of them to actually get a layoff letter, I think there was just a lot of sadness for me, in that moment.

Kris:

Yeah. It’s sort of surreal, isn’t it? Especially in reality, you never would have even considered to see that. Yeah. Was it in the list of potential things you plan for, right?

Laura:

No, no. I’ve actually never ever considered closing my doors because there was a sickness that we had to help prevent spread. Never once.

Kris:

It’s like kind of a movie.

Laura:

Yeah.

Kris:

I mean, I really do feel like we’re going to all look if this like three years from now and be like, did that really happen? Like it did. And it has, and it is, all of that is true. Yeah. Okay. Good. All right. Well, not good, but you felt sad, but you’ve answered the question. All right. Ms. Jen, tell us what were your thoughts and what’s your business?

Jennifer:

I own children’s sports facilities in Vancouver, Canada, that focus on gross motor development for really little guys, zero to six year olds. I was lucky enough to be on a family ski vacation as all of this was playing out for March break. And I say lucky enough, because it gave me enough distance from the craziness that was going on at my place of work, to think about it with a bit of a different perspective than being actually in the chaos. And I think my very first attitude was somewhere around, like, let’s do this, like we’ve got this. Like it was all cheerleader. This is an opportunity. It was a very different head space than when I came back and actually landed in reality. Got me through a few good weeks.

Kris:

Well, yeah. And you got your vacation in.

 

Jennifer:

I did that.

Kris:

That’s nice. There’s a few of us who are still really wanting that vacation.

Jennifer:

I still dream of being back in that moment. That would be great.

Kris:

I’m from the world at the top of a mountain. I look at houses in Hawaii every day, just to look, just to remind myself it’s still there and I can go someday. So yeah, we all need to have a little bit of that. Okay. So each of you kind of had a different reaction. Like a little bit of overwhelm and fear, sadness, or even like determination is what I heard you say, Jen, at least initially, which I think is so important for all of us to recognize as women who run businesses that know there isn’t a right response, it’s just what kicks you with the gear.

Kris:

That first week that we were all talking through this process and sort of anticipating, I know that was what everybody was just negotiating so many different emotions and allowing yourself to do that is essential, otherwise you can’t get back on board wherever you need to join your business and your team. So I’d love to hear and have you guys also share, what did you do for yourself to help you? And that doesn’t mean it worked really well the whole time either, you all, so let’s just keep that in mind. But what have you done for yourself over these past, I guess eight weeks now, to navigate this moment and find what you need to find? I guess it’s the way I will say that. So Kira, I’ll go back to you.

Kira:

Yeah. I’m going to put in a plug for you, Kris. I think the main thing that I focused on was thank God I have a coach right now. I felt like nobody had the answers, but at least I could bounce them off of someone who I knew to be super smart and very savvy in all of this, all aspects of this stuff. So yeah, I’m sure I’m not the only one who leaned heavily on you and what you have to offer.

 

Kira:

That and also I would say going back to some of my original teachers, some old books that I had originally, or hadn’t read in a long time, but they were things that I could look into again, to kind of shore up the foundations that I felt like were cracking at the time.

Kris:

Yeah. And it is so essential in that moment, to have … That’s where I think we all kept waiting for the bottom. Like, where’s the hard ground here, not in a negative way, but like where’s my footing going to be. Right? And so I love that, wherever it is that you go to remind yourself a little bit of like who you are and what you know and what you’re capable of.

Kira:

We even did that with our business a little bit, just dialing it. Like in times of prosperity, we have all these sort of creative threads that kind of branch out from our core business. It felt safer to just pull all those back in, and focus on the things that got us out of the starting gate to start with.

Kris:

So good. And I think what’s evident through the work that you do and what I’ve watched in you, is your core, you have some pretty strong values and integrity in the work that you do, the product, literal product that you deliver. And that reputation has been really important for you as you’ve negotiated this because your customer at a time where you might think would not want to spend the money on a specialty food item. Right?

Kira:

Right. It’s counterintuitive a little bit. And we saw the same thing happen a little bit in 2007, 2008, is when the restaurants weren’t able to, or people felt like they needed to not go to restaurants, it was like a tree that they had to dial back. Our business actually got busier. People need a chance to indulge in something delicious when everything’s going wrong. We just happened to be this way. It was that our business was considered essential and it was one of the few things that people could do for themselves. We became very popular.

Kris:

Yeah. Well, I certainly was like, “Could you please deliver me some of the salmon that you have on your Instagram? That’d be great.” Okay, great. So thank you for that. Laura, what did you do to help yourself?

Laura:

Well, I would really echo the same feeling of being grateful of having a coach and somebody that knows me really well and has seen me through other challenges and then been able to sort of be a reminder like, “Hey, listen, you can get through this too.” So somebody who’s there to lift you up. I remained on my faith. I’m grateful that church is online, through this time too. And I’m part of a small group that truly was there to support me as well. So just really leaning in on those truths, that give you that solid footing and that grounding that when you really do feel like you’re in a bit of a free-fall that there’s at least somewhere to land.

Laura:

I’m really, really grateful to have just strong foundation of positivity and hope when there were many, many moments in my business where it really felt very, very scary. And it still does, today, I think I would even just say to you, I’m terrified to open my business. If I didn’t have a strong foundation to be able to say, Hey, listen, I’m confident that there’s no way that I’m going to be able to do this alone, but one, I’m going to at least have the hope and the strength and the faith that this is going to on the other side of this, be something that I can look forward to.

Kris:

Yeah. And I love that. I think certainly Laura and I have known each other for some time and your foundational work that you’ve done in your leadership practice. Yes, the woman Laura, as just a woman with a company and a family and her own concerns, you have to negotiate that, but the grace that you went through, I mean, you have 50 employees and what? Seven franchises?

Laura:

Seven locations.

Kris:

Yeah, seven locations. I just think you had an ability to be pretty nimble despite the complexities that you were facing, especially in the healthcare. I think it’s so valuable and important for everyone who’s listening. I know I was beating the desk as much as I could, like how is anybody getting through this without support? And I do think unfortunately, a lot of women try and white-knuckle themselves through this stuff. And that isn’t good for you. Wherever you are, whatever challenge you face, like there’s someone else who can say, either, yeah, me too, let’s do it together or Oh, I’ve done that I can help you through it. Or, you know what, who the hell knows, but let’s plan it and figure it out together.

Laura:

Yeah. When I was reflecting on these questions that you were asking, Kris, you just said it just now, but I talked a lot about it. And so what was really important though, is that I was talking a lot about it with the right people. So I wasn’t talking a lot about it with somebody who was going to spin me down, I was talking about it, and at the end of a conversation with whomever that was, whether it was through your platform, whether it was through my other networks and circles, but they were people that I knew would not let me stumble.

Kris:

They will lift you. Lift you up.

Laura:

Yeah.

Kris:

Absolutely. So well said. Incredible. And so essential. That’s why one of the things I kept telling everyone was like, turn off the news. Don’t surround yourself with all of this stuff, because it’s just designed to freak you out. So good. All right, Jen, what have you done for yourself?

Jennifer:

I want to echo both of those key points, one with connecting to deeper roots and shoring up my foundation. I loved the way you said that, shore up your foundation. It’s such a critical time to do that. And then as well, of course, connecting to a coach and having somebody who can talk you through it and get you out of your own head, because that’s the hardest thing through all of this, is my own crazy thoughts.

Jennifer:

But I also want to get a little bit more practical. For me, it was what you just mentioned, focus, putting on blinders, ruthlessly cutting out all distractions. And unfortunately, I’m sorry if my mom’s listening to this, but that meant a lot of times cutting out people who are very close to me, who would spin me out. And I had to just literally put on blinders, not listen to the news, unless it was essential, not talk to those friends who are saying … Whatever they were doing. Just stay focused on what I had on my plate in front of me.

 

Jennifer:

And then the other one was scheduling, making sure I stuck to a really ultra-consistent schedule. And I find that in times of chaos and inconsistency, that sort of rhythm and routine in your day, whatever it involves, whether it’s faith or journaling or exercise or whatever was really critical, especially so that I could leave space for me. And I think that’s me. One of the biggest things was making sure in that schedule, I left lots of space, like open, empty space because the chaos is so quick to fill in those spaces that if I didn’t leave the time to just think or walk or be, there was a tendency to want to really fill it in really quickly and sort of work at that energy. But leaving that space in my schedule was critical, especially, I mean, the reality is also, I have three kids at home I’m homeschooling, so there had to be space and had to be consistent with your schedule.

Kris:

Yeah. Brilliant. Yeah. I think what I’ve noticed from some women who didn’t create space, and just were like, white-knuckle, all hustle, hustle, hustle, is now they’re like gasping for air a little bit too. For sure. And so it’s just knowing, like, you’ve only got so much output where you can run at that. And Kira, I think you hit that a little bit about a week ago. Right?

Kira:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think originally, the over-delivering and just working as hard as we could was sort of a, I guess, a survival tactic.

Kris:

Tactic, almost. Yeah.

Kira:

Right. Yeah. It felt like it was something that needed to be done. And then we hit a real burnout while a couple of weeks ago when this didn’t end up being all wrapped up in a pretty bow after two or three weeks. And just kept going at the same pace. So yeah, we’ve had to again, make some moves to make things more sustainable for our shop.

Kris:

Yeah. And for you.

 

Kira:

Right. Mostly for me.

Kris:

Like a woman who doesn’t get to go boating right now. Right? Like what do you do? That I think has been one of the biggest challenges is even if you hear people say, even as you’re listening to this podcast, you’re hearing me say, you need to … Jen says, create space. Invest in some time for yourself. But the response is, and what is that? I have a house full of family members. I have dogs. I’m cleaning my groceries when they come in my house. Like, where do I go? Where do I go for my own respite? And I know that’s a legitimate concern and issue. It doesn’t make it any less important. And so we have to be thoughtful about.

Kris:

Like for me, it’s a walk. I have to take a walk every day. I go away, we have this little trail in my neighborhood. I live in the suburbs, but you would think we were in the mountains on this one trail and I can be out there and not have anybody near me. Even if it’s 22 minutes, which is what it usually is, it’s that moment of time. So that’s good. And I think it’s great again, like all of us process this, and all of us go to different ways, but I do think finding sources of strengths when you need them.

Kris:

I know one of the challenges for successful women is everyone comes to you to work out their worry, so where do you go? To work out your worry, because you have it too. And everyone has to have a place to go. I believe that wholeheartedly. And I agree with you. I know I said this over and over again. I had to get coaching every day, sometimes two and three times. Now my challenges were more my own personal fear. This brought up all my story of all of the things I’ve been afraid of forever.

Kris:

My business was fine. It was my own life issues that were like on blast. You have to raise your hand and ask for help. It’s okay. It’s not weakness. It’s actually straight. I think so. Okay. I want to ask a couple more questions. I know that we could talk for a whole hour because there’s three of you and you all have so much wonderful insight to share, but I guess I would ask, what’s been a byproduct of this, a benefit of this whole thing that, if we had talked on March 14th, which we may have, we would have never have thought that would be a byproduct or a benefit. But now as you sit here, you can see the plus. So I’m curious what your thoughts are. I’ll start with someone else this time. Jen, why don’t you take us on that one first?

Jennifer:

I think there’s a joy in being faced with losing it all. I think as a business woman or business owner you’re on a bit of a treadmill where you have to keep producing in order to keep whatever it is you’ve created alive. It was like, okay, next term, next group. Like, next, next, next, next. There’s a joy in just sitting in, okay, what if it is all gone? Like literally in a heartbeat and now it is gone. Now what do we do? And realizing that truly and honestly life will go on. Like honestly. And the lessons to learn along that journey to get to that place, that regardless if my business reboots or I’m able to restart it or create something beautiful, new from it or whatever it is, whatever that is, it will be fine and I will be fine. And whatever I’ve learned through building this business comes with me. It will be applied to whatever I choose to apply it to.

Jennifer:

And Laura, when I was speaking to her through this was so wise to point out that being an entrepreneur and owning something, even if it’s not revenue generating today. And it is certainly not, at all revenue generating today, is very different than losing a job. Because should I ever in the future choose to apply whatever this is, it will become revenue generating again. It is an asset. That is a different place than not having that asset. And I think, yeah, there was a big joy in that for me, is just being like, “No, actually without this, I am still me and I will be fine. For real.”

Kris:

Yeah. There’s so much peace in that. Right? Knowing that.

Jennifer:

Yeah.

Kris:

And I love how you said, it all comes with me, no matter what. Well, you get to keep it. And applying what you painfully went through to learn the first time as you build the business. Now, think about how quicker, how much faster you go through all that.

Jennifer:

And all the things I would do different. Absolutely.

 

Kris:

Yeah. For some people it’s the perfect do-over.

Jennifer:

Yes. But do better.

Kris:

The perfect do-over. Right? That’s fun. Okay. Great. Love it. Laura, what are your thoughts? Benefits?

Laura:

Well, my garden has never looked so good. Like really. I don’t know, I’m very fortunate to have property and I’m very grateful that my hands are raw every day. Because it’s my place where I get to think, and I listen to podcasts when I’m gardening. I was actually having a really big conversation with Jen, one day, just pulling out weeds that I even said to her. I was like, “I’m pulling all these weeds out. Think of the metaphor in life of pulling the weed.” It’s good. So if you can get your hands dirty, I suggest it.

Laura:

A big one for my business specifically with the brain power we got to access. So I think I’ve mentioned, I’ve got these incredibly wonderful professionals, healthcare professionals that work with me. And normally they are so busy working with their clients that we don’t have a lot of chance to harness their brains to do other things. So we pivoted and harness their brains and completed hundreds of small, special projects across the company that has added tremendous value. And since I am a franchise corporation, that value now gets to be multiplied and shared as we come out on the other side of this, the new clinics that we have lined up that we’ll be opening are only going to benefit from the brainpower of a clinic on the other side of the country where we’ve actually invested in pulling the information out of that, out of that employee and getting it down.

Laura:

I feel so really excited when we’re actually back to whatever it’s going to look like, because we’re coming with some new innovative thoughts and ideas and resources and whatnot to share with our clients, but also to continue to grow our employees.

 

Kris:

So good. It just builds more assets, which is fun. Right?

Laura:

Yeah.

Kris:

I think that’s important is to remember, is that didn’t just happen that’s because you made a conscious decision to capitalize on a moment. Right? Okay. Well, let’s harness this opportunity. And that again, for all of us, that’s why I think when you hit moments of adversity and things that are challenging you as the founder, are the one who really have to do the work, because we need your brain to show up. If your brain checks out, no disrespect or judgment for people who also just needed to go sit on the couch for six weeks. Like that’s okay too. That’s what happened for you when you were able to say, “Wait, we could do something here.” Right? Yeah. Good. All right Kira, benefit?

Kira:

Yeah. This is something that I’ve been thinking over the last couple of weeks, because it’s become really clear is that some of the assumptions that I had about why our business was successful and what brought people to our business, have really been proven false. It’s really good information for me to have. It’ll be super helpful making decisions moving forward too.

Kira:

And also just the confidence and the pride, I guess, in knowing that there’s something like this can come up and we do survive. In fact, we’ve started to thrive at this point. So just knowing that we can weather this sort of a storm and come out the other side with the little ship intact still, and no holes or broken things. Yeah, that’s been a real, I think blessing or silver lining in all of this too.

Kira:

And then, just to reference what Jen said. Yeah, it all comes with me and now I get to decide, do I want it all to come with me? There’s a couple of things that we’ve decided maybe aren’t something that we’re going to want to continue with moving forward too. And it’s to have had this opportunity to sort of reset and take a look and reinvent the whole thing multiple times over and over again, it’s just been crazy. But also seeing that we’re coming out of it with a lot more information that we would have never had the opportunity to access without something like this happening.

Kris:

Yeah. I mean, I know that we wouldn’t have wished this for anybody, like this is wretched. And yet, I mean, if we can take this moment and see like, wow, what have we really learned? And I know for you specifically, kind of like, okay, yeah, baby, I don’t want to do this ever again. I just released a little video yesterday on Instagram, where I talked about like, it’s okay to come through this experience and really say, “No, I’m done.”

Kris:

And I think that’s happening across the board. I have a lot of clients whose employees are quitting and that’s okay. It’s because they’re also realizing, Oh, I don’t want to do this. And if this is what life is really about now, I want to go do this. I think all of us have been kind of given this opportunity to really check in like, wait, I was numb. I was on autopilot. I was on the treadmill. Because I knew with the very beginning, in fact, I was rewatching a little snippet from that leaving through crazy course I did, where I talked about how quickly it will all go back to normal, whatever “normal” was if we’re not paying attention.

Kris:

We have to like almost, if you’re making that agreement with yourself, like, no, I don’t want to work as much. I want things to go slower. I don’t want to work with these people anymore. Whatever. I don’t want these employees on my team anymore, whatever it is, we have to stay vigilant to that commitment that we’re making to ourselves in this moment, because it will go quick. Like it’ll get gobbled up really fast with the pace of everything once it picks back up. So, so good. Okay.

Kris:

I guess one of the last questions I have is what did you do to pivot? Like what were some of the things you had to do to keep things going and help your team or help your client? So what were some of the adaptations you’ve made to your business model, if any, that helped you? Laura, I’ll start with you.

Laura:

Well, we adopted maybe a bit reluctantly that we did adopt the new telehealth or virtual physiotherapy opportunity that our industry sort of across the board suggested. Working with children, obviously that can look a little bit different when you’re trying to engage a child through a screen, but we did it. I probably sound a little bit skeptical, but the outcome was actually really good. I’m only sounding skeptical because I think I was really proven quite wrong. In my mind I was like, “How are we going to be able to do it? We have the most beautiful clinic spaces that kids come to, to get treated in our space. How are we going to provide this in their home?”

Laura:

But we’ve been able to do it. Not for all of our clients. Our business has dropped dramatically, but for a big selection of kids, it’s actually been a really cool experience. We learned very quickly how to access the resources that our federal government here in Canada were giving to us in order to maintain our staff. And so we had an opportunity to use a wage subsidy, trying to figure out how to do that, was harder than actually coming up with a project. We really had to learn. You had to actively learn how to access the resources that were available to you in order to make your business continue to float. Because on the news it might say, 75% wage subsidy, but-

Kris:

It’s not just like a box you tick and it’s handled?

Laura:

No.

Kris:

Raise your hand. Me. Pick me.

Laura:

So just there was whole learning process every week. That was a conscious decision. Are we going to learn how to do this? And then use it for our employees. Are we going to learn how to advocate to our landlord, that they should apply on a pass for rent support? Learning how to actually have those conversations. That’s how we really pivoted, was learning how to speak to the people that could help us weather it.

Kris:

Yeah, and that’s such an option. There’s always the choice to just complain, just be mad and complain, it doesn’t get you the result that you want. Right? For most women I believe, who are entrepreneurs, who are used to getting it done, that was the only solution. The other side of it is, are you taking care of yourself or are you busy doing?

Laura:

There was just a tremendous fatigue.

Kris:

Yes. There’s just [crosstalk 00:35:27] fatigue too, right? There’s so much coming at you.

Laura:

And recognizing the fatigue in my employees too, who are helping me with that. So it wasn’t just me doing that alone, but just really recognizing that the people who I was maybe tasking with, I need you to look into how we’re going to use this wage subsidy or how we’re going to use this support and really seeing how that impacted other people too.

Kris:

Yeah. It’s a big ask. It’s good stuff though. Works out. Good. All right. Jen, pivots?

Jennifer:

Yeah. I feel like we’ve constantly tried to reinvent ourselves like Kira said, like it was week over week and we’ll do this and we’ll move there, but we’ve tried a bit of everything. We’ve tried virtual programs, we’ve tried live classes, we’ve done a bunch of things over reiterations. But mostly what we’ve been able to do, thanks to the Canadian wage subsidies is that repurposing of our team.

Jennifer:

And I think I have had to learn in all of this to pivot myself into being far more patient, so much more patient, and accepting the fact that right now, although I don’t have a very clear destination in mind, my job is just as important to lead the team that I have and use this as an opportunity to develop their leadership and their management skills. So that whenever we do come out, wherever we happen to be standing or be in a position, at least with a really strong team to take action on that. And then to use it to do some really cool internal changes that I would have loved to have done 10 years ago and just never had the opportunity to, and make some major big changes to the actual structure of our business and the finances of it. Yeah, we’ve pivoted to waiting patiently so that we are sort of approaching tiger ready to pounce, when there is a time to pounce on something.

Kris:

Yeah. You have the systems and the processes in place that maybe … Because that’s what so many women will say is, I need to do all that. But how do you do that? When the plane is flying, how do you change the wings? Proverbially, to use that metaphor. This is the time that so many people have said they’ve always wanted. And yet then it got to be too much scarcity and fear to do that kind of action. So I’m glad that you took that action.

Jennifer:

And forced me to see my role differently. Before now, I’ve done all of the jobs in the business. I’ve known how to do it, but I’ve never taught or managed virtual programs, they didn’t exist before this. So it made no sense for the first time ever for me to learn how to do that and then to teach the team. I had to just, for the first time actually manage a team of people doing the job that I’m paying them to do, which is magic after two years of listening to you. And I thought I had it until all of this played out and I was like, “No, that’s what she’s talking about.” Yeah, there’s been some gifts.

Kris:

For sure. That’s awesome. I love it. Yeah, that’s freedom. All right. Kira.

Kira:

Yeah. I would say that the very first thing we did was pivot to focusing on safety, which I think everybody had to do. We made some changes to our … Because we remained open. We lost about the half of our team right out the gate too. We had a big conversation where we sat everybody down and gave them kind of their options and asked everyone if they were still in or if they needed to go for a little while.

Kira:

I think we had nine and we had five that remained. And two of those kind of had things come up over the next few weeks too. But anyway, originally just installing, like plexiglass barriers, roped barriers, slapped masks on all of our team members, and then creating those new positions to accommodate for the new system, with having a door person, a dedicated door person, a dedicated phone person. And we had two people that were running curbside so that we could help more than three customers at a time by helping people outside as well.

 

 

Kira:

And then also with the reduced team, we severely reduced our hours. We were previously open 48 hours a week and we dialed that down to 12. And we did that for almost an entire month, actually a little over a month, now that I think about it. We were just working with the team that was willing to work and both my husband and I, we went from trying to be more people working on the business, to diving back and working in the business. We were side by side the whole time, doing all the work that the team that we had was working to. Yeah, we were definitely all the way in, instead of, on.

Kira:

I would say those were our main pivots. And now we’re trying to kind of back it back out. We’ve hired a couple new people, our team’s back and moving back into what we consider to be more normal. In fact, I’m sure we’re not at normal yet, but it’s starting to feel, I guess the craziness is starting to feel normal maybe. But yeah, those were our main pivots, I’d say.

Kris:

Oh good. Well, I know you’re up in Washington and you guys are in Vancouver, so we’ll just hope that Mount Saint Helens will start to erupt or something. Somebody was talking about some volcano in Yellowstone, that’s making noise. Like never say never, who knows what’s coming, you need to be planning for something. But I think what was so fun about your story, and I see you guys did cut your hours back so much, and yet you were producing, in some cases more revenue than you had, right?

Kira:

Yeah.

Kris:

We have that one conversation, when you were like, wait a minute, I’ve been open for 12 hours instead of 48 hours.

Kira:

Every day was Christmas, it felt like. There’s so many interesting things and even getting a little distance from them, and now being able to look at it, I’m kind of more being able to, instead of having to experience that I can pull out some of the lessons of all of that too. And it’s just … Yeah.

Kris:

It’s good stuff. I think it’s great. Okay. So this question I didn’t give you to answer ahead of time just to think about, but I feel inclined to ask it. So I’m going to ask you, it’s a short answer for you, so you hopefully you don’t have to overthink it. But I guess if there’s women who are listening to this podcast who are in all sorts of different industries, who are at all different places in their business. And so for the woman who is listening who’s maybe kind of still really in it and needs a little bit of wisdom about how to move forward, what to do next. Maybe she’s exhausted. Maybe she doesn’t see, Jen, to your point. Like maybe her business isn’t going to come back. We don’t know. What would you say? What’s the best advice or wisdom you would like to sort of pass along to her for a next step or what to do?

Jennifer:

This is the thought that goes through my head whenever I go through those most challenging times over the last few weeks. If there’s a problem sitting in front of you, which we all have right now, if you know the answer to it, take action on it. Take action on immediately. And if you do not know the answer to it, let it go, just let it go. Stop it. And whatever that means to you, if you’re faith-based, literally hand it over, otherwise journal about it, close the book, walk away, whatever it is for you, let it go because you’re not meant to have that answer right now. You’re setting a new invest. So yeah, if you know the answer, take action, and if not, walk away.

Kris:

So good. Really good. Love it. Kira, do you have some thoughts?

Kira:

I would just say to remember who you are. One of the thoughts that gives me a lot of comfort is if I lost everything today or tomorrow, just I guess again, echoing what Jen said earlier, I’ve done this before. I can do it again. I have all of the experience and knowledge and information to take with me and to not forget that’s who you are and you can just build again.

Kris:

Lovely. Thank you. Laura?

Laura:

Know your worst-case scenario. I would do the exercise of knowing what that looks like. And I would lean into my vision to decide, am I going to continue to follow this vision that I’ve set out for my company, or see the worst-case scenario?

Kris:

Yeah.

Laura:

It really was an either or, it wasn’t going to be both. You have to know what the worst-case scenario was. And I didn’t like the worst-case scenario. I knew I’d be okay. I totally be okay. But I was not comfortable seeing my business fail right now.

Kris:

No. Gosh, it’s terrible. But then once you sort of revealed the monster, now we’ve disarmed it, now it doesn’t have that charge, at least that’s the goal. We don’t keep feeding it. Like, okay, I see you, but I’m going to go over here. I think the other thing I would just add to what you all three have said in the experience I’ve had with so many women now over the past eight weeks especially, is it’s wherever you have to go to lean into trust. Because I do think this whole process has invited all of us to sort of believe that we’re going to move through this and we’re going to do this in a way that ends up okay.

Kris:

And sometimes we don’t know what that looks like, but can we trust that it will be okay and let go of the how. Sometimes the how is the part that suffocates you when really what we need to spend our time doing is just knowing and learning and listening. And so that would be my advice as well, is lean into wherever that is that you go, that restores trust that you’re capable, you’re wise, you are surrounded and loved by people. And it really will be okay, eventually. And it could be okay right this moment also.

Kris:

Well thank you all three of you so much. It was simply lovely to have you here. I just think you’re all amazing. And I’ve enjoyed this conversation as I have enjoyed so many of our others. Thank you for being here and we’ll see you again next time.

Laura:

Thanks, Kris.

Kira:

Thanks, Kris.

Jennifer:

Thanks, Kris. Bye.

Kris:

Hey there gorgeous, are you ready to take everything I teach you in this podcast and put it to work in your business and really learn how to master leading your team? If so, I’d love to have you as a client in the Founder’s Lab to learn more about how we can work together, head on over to krisplachy.com/join. There you’ll see everything you need to know about the Founder’s Lab and how to get started. See you there.

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