Let’s Talk… Disaster Recovery


Owning a small business or starting up a new company comes with many challenges. Plans are made but often those plans don’t go the way we hope. The initial reaction can be to want to abolish the plans all together but in reality set backs can actually be really helpful. Being resilient and being able to bounce back from set backs is incredibly important for business owners.

In this week’s Let’s Talk experts discuss how to bounce back from disaster.

Chris Mamarelis, CEO, Whiddon:

Aged Care is an industry that continues to carry stereotypes that must be dismantled and replaced with the beautiful outcomes achieved by people who work, live and care for the elders in our community, day in day out. As CEO, my focus is to lead an organisation that drives change and tangible impact in everything we do, while also acknowledging the incredible people who make it all possible. To achieve this we shine a light on exactly what makes a difference, going beyond the bricks and mortar  – supporting and enabling wellbeing and quality of life through innovative, quality and progressive care. Last week we launched a campaign called Aged Care Reimagined to showcase what our industry is really about, challenging and preventing the stereotypes govern our brand perception. These challenges are only useful as a springboard into something positive and we are motivated by the precious lives that we care for.

Steve Layton, Founder, Sofa Brands:

In 2014 we lost a major supply contract which saw revenue drop by 80% in a matter of months. The reasons for this were beyond our control but it was a kick in the teeth nonetheless.

Recovery from a set-back of this magnitude took a two-pronged approach. First, we made immediate strategic changes to the business. We reduced our 100% reliance on selling to retailers, reduced volumes, increased margins, pivoted to a multi-channel business model and took back control of our business.

But the real key to recovery is psychological. Don’t play the blame game, accept responsibility. Holding a grudge eats away at you while achieving nothing. Remember the good stuff – if you’ve won contracts in the past you can do it again. Then you need to truly rally in the belief that in failure lies the gold, because those who fail are those who tried. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Tim Moylan, CEO, Shootsta:

How have you bounced back from a setback in your business?

A fibre cable was cut down the road and caused a mass outage of internet direct to our office. I’ve never seen 25 people stop work so quickly. Within 1 min, our entire production team was standing up looking at each other, and within 3 mins they had all wandered over and started playing ping pong as no one could do their job.

We jumped into disaster recovery mode once we realised the extent of the ISP outage and collected every spare iPad, iPhone and SIM card to tether individual laptops back to the internet. After some quick re-routing and emergency processes, we had a slow workforce back up and running whilst we waited for our ISP to restore the cable over 24 hours later. It was a long evening, however quick thinking and wireless access helped us bounce back and deliver video to our clients on time.

Bo Kitty, Founder, Reality Check:

‘Failure’ is merely a product of your perspective. It’s astonishing the amount of clients who contact me because of fear of failure – one of the biggest setbacks in business. Mindset is a powerful thing and training your mind to be optimistic is a real art. Two of the main problems I see associated with a failing business or failing process within a business are these:

– Excuses. Stop making them for why you can’t, won’t or don’t achieve something.
– Undervaluing. Look at your service or product from an outsider’s point of view. We are our own worst critics, state your worth and don’t waver.

Start by shifting your mindset towards gratitude and optimism. Optimism and gratitude trigger positivity. How you channel that positivity is persistence. Successful business owners and entrepreneurs are special because their optimism never dies. They are fuelled by perceived failures instead, by reframing them as learning experiences.