5.00am: It’s a typical day at VIVO Cafe.
Of course I say that in the car while driving to work. I listen to AM radio in the hope that I will know a tiny bit of what’s going on in the world around me. Sometimes my work bubble extends so much over my life bubble that it can, does and will totally take over. Especially on a day like today, that is about to send me over the edge. So far all is as it should be, but not for long!
5.01am: First phone call, two staff have already missed the train, they will be one hour late. As it’s against the law to SPEED and I can’t magically appear at work, I now have the ‘drive of stress’ to contend with. The one where you develop road rage against everything because the world doesn’t get that you need to go to work faster. Right now. We have over 100 booked for breakfast starting at 7.00am and we need to unpack furniture and basically get ready for the entire day. Breathe. Even after 25 years as a business owner, or maybe especially because of these 25 years, I still get worried when calls start early. It’s never good. It always gets worse. This isn’t pessimism, or a self fulfilling prophecy or me being negative. This is life in a small business and in the cafe world when you start to run late early on, you very rarely get ahead.
5.30am: Arrive at work, put my ‘go faster’ shoes on, crack the whip and get the troops rounded up (that would be me and one other person) to do the work of five people. That’s because two more called in sick. Two late. Two sick. Too fun.
5.45am: Two more no shows. These two are chefs. This is now officially ‘hairy’ but this is what we live for. The challenge, the rush, the adrenaline pumping around, the rise to meet the battle and win the war. Have I convinced you yet? It gets better!
5.59am: Main fridges have just blown up, power off. I can’t cook breakfast without power. What about two hundred Up & Go Drinks from Coles? Just a thought.
6.10am: Finally have my coffee in hand; I am now armed for battle. Phone calls made, strategy in place, plan D also an option. I also have Plan Z, but that includes a private jet, embezzlement and no luggage.
It’s now 7.30am, the calm before the storm. It’s going to be a tough day because I have a lot on besides the business of VIVO. There is also the business of Angela. I have Channel 7 coming at 10.30am for filming, rehearsals with the enigmatic Peter Switzer for a national road show and a Charity Event for eighty children that afternoon, that I am sponsoring. Of course there is hair & makeup around that. Is this a typical day? Sometimes. Can it be worse? Yes, often it is. How is this day going to pan out? Well, here is where the choices begin. Rollover and die, or stand and be counted. Of course Plan Z……….
10.00pm. It’s over, in so many ways. Some people had a reprimand, others were terminated and some were hugged. Wow - that’s a technical business term. More life lessons, more business lessons. They never end. It’s amazing how irrelevant age and wisdom can sometimes be in moments of dire stress. When all you can do is remind yourself to breathe. This day saw the end of careers and the beginning of new strategies. It saw me draw complete blanks on one hand and sudden clarifications on the other. Now that’s where age and wisdom come into play. I made some tough choices, hard and almost vicious in their cut, but necessary to the very existence of the business, my livelihood. Nobody is ever allowed to interfere with that. Not one single person is above the business, including me. It would have been easy for me to overlook attitudes, to just let it go and say it will all be OK tomorrow. These decisions would not be good for VIVO. And I work for VIVO.