Business Lessons from a Breast Cancer Survivor: An Interview with Xendoo COO, Julia Aquino
As we begin Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we spoke with Xendoo COO and breast cancer survivor, Julia Aquino. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She knew that she needed a deep understanding of the disease in order to make the best decisions for her health, while also running a successful business.
Armed with knowledge and clear goals for recovery, she survived and thrived through treatment. In today’s post, she shares what her experience with breast cancer taught her about business.
Make a Plan
When Julia was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she dove into researching the disease. She learned how cancer was typed, what the terminology meant, and how the medication worked. She understood her family history, and the stage she was in. This knowledge helped her to coordinate with her doctor to create an effective plan for care and survival. It kept her focused and determined as she fought the disease.
Having a business plan provides the same focus and determination to meet your goals. When you pair that determination with knowledge of your industry, audience, and competition, you can reduce your competitive risks and navigate difficulty with confidence. Your business plan is your roadmap that helps you take focused action and make informed decisions as your business grows.
Know Your Numbers
There are many numbers associated with cancer. Your staging, your white blood count (WBC), tumor marker levels, hormone levels, and FISH levels, to name a few. It can be very intimidating. Taking the time to understand your numbers and their significance will provide you with factual information so you can understand where you are, and what options you have. It reduces fear-based decision making, and brings clarity to an otherwise overwhelming situation.
The same idea applies to business. When you know your numbers, you can make better decisions, based on facts. Sometimes we don’t want to look at our financials because we do not understand them, or because they show we are not as profitable as we would like to be. However, there is always information that can guide our actions, and help us find solutions. Take the time to understand your key metrics and trends, measure the outcomes of the actions you take, and adjust behaviors when needed. The financial insight gained from this review can be used to effectively address issues and strategize for long-term success.
Find a Support System
Those who are battling breast cancer have a lot on their shoulders; they balance work, their lives, their hopes and fears, and their health. It can be physically and emotionally draining. The right medical team, supportive friends and family, and a healing environment can provide comfort in the most difficult moments. Finding a support system that encourages them to keep moving forward makes all the difference in the world.
Likewise, business owners juggle multiple roles, including leader, sales, customer service, and even bookkeeper. Shouldering all of those responsibilities can become overwhelming and exhausting. Business owners need a supportive team who complements what they lack experience in, and takes the stress off of their plates.
You do not have to do it all on your own. Build a supportive team that covers all the bases, so you can do what you do best – growing your business. In discouraging moments, your team will push you to dust yourself off and refocus on your business goals. In moments that you need to step back, they will be happy to step up to keep the business running. When you are ready to jump back in, remember the true power you have, rely on the support you are surrounded with, and keep moving forward.
Celebrate Your Victories
To all who are battling breast cancer, we support you and are amazed by you. You work hard every day and fight the good fight, so take time this month to remember your strength, honor your courage, and celebrate every victory, no matter the size! Every step you take moves you further into the mindset of “I can and I will”.
Watch the full interview with Julia below: