Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tough Times

I have just heard of the demise of two long-standing businesses – Homemakers magazine and POWE (Power of Women Exchange).   It’s kind of a wake up call to this changing economic climate.  Businesses that were doing well one day, and are gone the next.

And as someone who publishes a magazine, I know how tough it is.  We are down to two issues this year and even that is pushing it.  I am grateful to all the advertisers who have stuck by us and the writers and colleagues, like Michelle Bailey from Blazing the Agency, who have rallied round to make sure we continue.

As for POWE, I really feel for Lia and Tina who started the organization.  It is so hard to close the doors on something that you know was making a difference, and which you have poured so much of yourself into making it happen.

One argument might be that there isn’t a need for women-based business organizations, but I don’t think so.  It’s more that we need to pay attention to what is happening, adjust what we are offering so we continue to provide meaningful, real experiences for women.

It reminds me of when I ran mothers’ groups for Children’s Aid.  Obviously their mandate was to improve the women’s parenting skills, but when they didn’t have enough money to put food on the table or were worried about when the next blow would come from their abusive partner, teaching parenting skills seemed a bit futile. 

Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the women needed basic life skills and once those basic needs were met, and they felt better about themselves, then they would be more willing to tackle their parenting skills.

Likewise, for the past nine years we have put on event after event, brought in amazing speakers and helped women learn and connect with one another.  But I am not convinced that this is what is needed now in today’s climate.  Yes, we all need to continue learning, and we will still bring in the speakers and cover topics of interest to business owners at all levels. But if you are worried and feeling all alone, finding out that others feel the same way and that they have some solutions to share, can really change your reality.

People seem to be hunkering in.  Let’s face it, when money is short and you are feeling discouraged about your business, the last thing you feel like doing is shelling out even more money so you can put on a mask and pretend all is well with the world.

No, it is time for some honesty, some authenticity and some down-to-earth, practical conversations.  We can support one another.  We can problem-solve together and yes, we can get through this challenging period, and not only survive, but thrive.

As the Dalai Lama said “ It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom, and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty.”
So don’t give up on networking.  Yes,  meeting people online is one alternative, and I maybe old-fashioned,  but I still like meeting people face-to-face.


1 comment:

Elizabeth Skronski said...

Dear Anne

Thank you for your blog on Tough Times. I don't think you could have said it better, particularly, the part about putting on a mask and pretending all is well. I am always so surprised and humbled when a woman whom I thought was doing so great, allows herself to be vulnerable. What happens next is incredibly inspiring to watch the support she receives from others.

I wish you and your team a wonderful Holiday Season and may Company of Women be thrive in 2012.