In a general sense, resilience refers to our capacity to pick ourselves up again and again and go on, when things go wrong, when we are struck by sudden misfortune or disaster, or as we learn to live with ongoing challenges. It can take on different meanings to each of us and one person’s expression of resilience may be another person’s breaking point.
For some resilience can be as simple as pushing through something that makes us scared or anxious repeatedly to build resilience against that fear. To others it’s something much deeper, built from losing everything and starting again from nothing. Just like the artisans we work with, each of us are fighters in our own way.
We get knocked down, we get up again, each time with a little more wisdom and a slightly thicker skin.
There is a type of built-in resilience essential to being an entrepreneur. Choosing entrepreneurship is not the easiest path in the first place, and my resilience in this area has been tested many times throughout my life. At Finders & Makers, our resilience has really been tested in a big way recently.
Earlier in the year we tackled a very ambitious project - to change our website platform. Now being an e-commerce business, this is a big deal - a really big deal. It’s like moving house, which has been well documented as one of the most stressful events in your life. Even though our move wasn’t from one bricks and mortar location to another, many of the logistics were the same - it was real, complex, costly, time-consuming, and of course, exciting.
We started by working through a project plan, that included a long list of tasks to be completed and big decisions that had to be made in order to achieve the goal and make the transfer successfully. We had an awesome team of people involved who brought great expertise and shared the passion of the Finders & Makers vision. We all had our eyes on the prize – to move into a superb new website that would be a true showcase for the beautiful ethical jewelry our artisans make.
After several months of working on it, we finally launched and were thrilled to see the awesome result.
Then disaster struck.
After being live for 5 days, we found out a third-party supplier had entered our site without authorization. I still don’t really understand why they were in our site to begin with, but the outcome of their activity was that our entire site had been wiped out. We had been hacked!
I remember answering the call of my project manager who raised the alarm. So many questions ran through my head. Why? Why us? What was there to gain? Where do we start? And then the most important question - is the site backed up? Unfortunately, the answer was no. We explored every option, spoke to the key relevant people, and the answer was still no. There was no backup. It happens to all of us at one time or another I guess, but we were so focused on so many details to make everything perfect, it was inevitable something would get overlooked.
So, this is when I needed to call on the resilience I had built previously. I could not let this immobilize me when we had all worked so hard to launch the site in the first place. I quickly analyzed the situation and once we’d worked out if anything can be recovered, we discussed the rebuild and got to work. With the sharpest focus ever, we toiled away and methodically rebuilt the entire thing. Now we have an even better site than before! In record time, our beautiful store was open once again.
Every problem presents an opportunity to learn something new, something about ourselves and something about the people that are on the ride with us. And this problem did exactly that. I learnt that we need to ensure we have backups – and processes for that are now well and truly in place.
I learnt that resilience could be my guide – by finding the strength within myself to move forward and remain calm, I was able to think clearly and plan the recovery. I also discovered some amazing qualities in my team: they also showed up with their resilience, showed outstanding abilities under pressure and best of all truly revealed to me their love for our brand.
So, we are now a little banged about, but emerge from the experience wiser, a little stronger and standing a little taller.
Until next time,