During this health emergency all our thoughts are with the families who are affected or have suffered because of COVID-19. Also to our amazing health workers who are working tirelessly to support those families and protect the health of us all. This article is intended to focus on supporting small business owners but we should not lose sight of those helping care, support and fight to keep the country safe and moving forward.
What a week - at the time of writing this article its been nearly seven days since UK "lockdown" and when most of the business world stopped. Small businesses up and down the country were either forced to close or business owners made the correct moral decision to close helping to protect the health of their employees and customers as well as helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Every small business owner in the country who has been affected should be proud of their actions and also give themselves a pat on the back for what they have had to go through over the past week.
Many have had to furlough employees and spend many hours and long days on the phone to customers, suppliers and banks.
It’s not been easy and it is unlikely to be any easier over the coming weeks and months. But that does not mean that as a small business owner we just sit back and accept our fate, whether that would be as extreme as business closure or just sitting back, waiting and hoping for normal times to return.
It’s important for our health, our families and our business that we have sacrificed so much for over the years to build up that we do not just let the current situation and events overwhelm us.
There are steps we can take to get us through this, to give us the strength to plan our next moves and to action our way out of this not only as business survivors but also in a much stronger position.
Like nearly every business owner over the past week I've lost sleep, spent many hours on the telephone to a host of different people and organisations and had to make some pretty big and important decisions in recent days that not only affect my own but other peoples life’s. I’ve been running my own business for nearly 24 years now and nothing over that period has prepared me for events of the past week but over those years I've learnt many tactics, routines and plans that have helped me navigate through those many years of small business life.
There's probably going to be no other time in my business life where I need to rely on that arsenal of tools as much than the present time - I'm compiling this list of things primarily for my own benefit as it's so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of news, social media posts, guidance and rules, that I needed to write them down in this article to keep on reminding myself that I have tools to help my wellbeing, to help me focus and to help me plan for the coming weeks, months and years ahead.
Below is a list of 10 tools that I rely on, some every day, some every week and some whenever I require them. The list is not exhaustive but hopefully you will find some of them helpful to not only as small business owners but also as human beings trying to navigate through this turbulent time.
Please comment and share with me your own tactics and tools.
It's September and it's a full month of charity fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK.
Starting on the 1st of the month with my commitment of 11,000 steps each day for March the Month and ending by running the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon in Glasgow.
So in one week I will take part in the Stirling marathon, or as its been branded this year the Great Stirling Run. The event is now in its 3rd year and it's a scenic marathon starting and finishing in the City of Stirling while taking in the surrounding rolling countryside to the north of the city, passing through small towns such as Doune, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan where the locals come out in force to support the runners.
Now let me be honest from the beginning, I am no running expert, while I was actively fit playing football at a reasonably competitive youth level up until my late teens, for the next 16-17 years I let myself go, fed up with sport, giving no thought to exercising or what I was eating, I was just being consumed with work and business and as my business developed and grew and I became more office based instead of doing physical work my weight ballooned.
Stirling Electrical Services Ltd. were delighted to be involved in the refurbishment of Gallery Two at The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, one of Stirling's finest attractions and we wish them success with the new gallery.
It's well worth a visit - some fabulous art on show.
I would like to thank the members of our own team and other contractors who were part of the project.
Below you will find the official opening announcement and official photos from The Stirling Smith facebook page as well as some of our own work photos during the project. The previous lighting track, power outlets and cabling were removed with the installation of new cables and power outlets including new lighting track with LED lights which highlights superbly the art on display.
Latest customer feedback on our electrical service via an online review website
"Our mental health affects the way we think, feel and behave. A mental health problem can feel just as bad, or worse, than any other illness" - SAMH website - www.samh.org.uk
I believe one of the biggest health challenges we currently face in the modern world is also still one of the least talked about and perhaps still thought of as a taboo subject.
Great work has been undertaken in recent years in raising awareness of mental health and the importance of sufferers talking and seeking help but there's still a long way to go before mental health is taken as seriously as a physical health problem.
I, like many others, face challenges each day, week, month and year with coping with my thoughts in everyday family and business life.
On the days that don't go well for me, it affects my mood, my thoughts and my actions. There have been a few serious low points for me over the years but thankfully I have found and invested in methods and tactics that help me cope.
From meditating, journalling, joining groups, to paper exercises such as asking myself a series of questions about my thoughts I have been able to help ease any major issues I could have had.
One of those methods of coping is running - I have found changing my physical state either with running or a brisk walk to be one of my best tactics to help my mind and thoughts.
Unfortunately there are many people affected by mental health - many people in everyday walks of life who from an outside perspective seem happy, seem successful and seem contented with life.
But on the inside they are not coping with their thoughts. They are in a dark place inside and don't know what to do to help ease their troublesome thoughts.
In recent years there has been an increase in awareness regarding mental health but there is a long way to go before, not only at public level but also at government level, mental health issues are deemed as important as a physical health issue.
This year as part of my Stirling Marathon 26.2 mile challenge I would like to raise awareness and would welcome your support in donating to help the Scottish Association of Mental Health and the work they do to help and care for those affected by mental health.
Please consider donating at www.scottmclean.charity
Thank you for your Support
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Later this week myself and fellow electrical colleagues will attend the Scottish Parliament.
On Thursday 25th October just after First Ministers Questions a debate brought forward by MSP Jamie Halcro Johnstone will take place to support the Regulation of Electricians as a Profession.
I have mentioned on this blog previously about an ongoing campaign by electrical trade association SELECT to bring legal status to electricians as a 'Profession' - similarly like Gas engineers, essentially making it mandatory that those that carry out electrical work in Scotland be fully trained and have up to date qualifications to carry out such work.
Currently anyone with no training or qualifications can carry out electrical work and legally at the moment there is nothing stopping them carry out such work, if this work is carried out by someone with no formal electrical training or past qualifications that have no or little relevance to the latest electrical regulations then the work could cause harm to property and put lives at risk. Presently the homeowner or business property owner has no mandatory regulated formal way of checking the qualifications of the person carrying out the work.
The parliament Motion calls for support in regulating the electrical industry where only those with up to date and ongoing electrical training and qualifications can carry out electrical work within Scotland and for a mandatory regulated register of qualified electricians/companies. Failure to do so and still carry out electrical work would then be illegal - similar to Gas work.
The campaign by the hard working group at SELECT has gathered pace and now has the support of other electrical organisations and trade unions and will now have a voice at this parliament debate.
I have today written to my local MSP highlighting this campaign and parliament debate and will update with more news later in the week after the debate on Thursday.
In the meantime if anyone has any questions or queries about why the Regulation of Electricians as a Profession is important please ask in the comment section below or in a reply to my social media posts.
My new podcast is now available where I will discuss business, fitness and family.
Hopefully I will provide some words of wisdom along the way.
The podcast is available to listen and subscribe to on a host of popular platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Full details are on my new podcast page.
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