Plummeting sales, PR disasters, piling debts, lawsuits & layoffs are just a few of the many potential tough situations an entrepreneur might face — and that’s just on the business side. Juggling both business and personal problems can weigh heavily on an entrepreneur mind and make it really tough to carry on with day-to-day operations.
Readers here may or may not have faced a significant hardship while running your business or perhaps you’ve made it through some and wish you’d handled things differently. Either way, it pays to be prepared. Here are six steps you can take to reduce the impact when you find yourself facing tough times.
Build up your confidence
Facing tough times will shake your confidence as an entrepreneur. It’s important to have a strong reserve of will to begin with.
“As businesspeople, we face many challenges each year, and sometimes, day-to-day work can make things seem rather bleak,” said Bill Redfern, founder and CEO of Global Franchise Opportunities.
“I have found that having a high level of confidence during tough situations helps to find a creative solution to the issues or challenges at hand. Entrepreneurs sometimes do [their] best work when under this sort of pressure.”
Create a Steel Network
One way to pull yourself up and out is to connect with people who push you to be your best, most confident self.
“Surround yourself with people who want to be with you and who help you stay accountable, authentic, honest, happy and open-minded,” said Erik Wilson, founder and CEO of Pozify.
“Seek people who push you to constantly keep growing and evolving.”
Create a risk fund
It is the same concept where a person has an emergency savings account for their own personal funds, but do you have one for your business? Financial hardships are fairly common among small businesses, especially when they’re just starting out, so as soon as it’ s feasible for you, start setting some of your income aside to cover any unexpected expenses or a dip in sales.
“It is always a good idea to have enough financial capital to sustain yourself during slow months or unexpected emergencies,” said Roger Murphy, president and CEO of Murphy Business & Financial Corp. “You’d be surprised at how many tough times can pop up if you’re not prepared.”
Know yourself well
In the world of business, Ancient Greek philosophers spawned the now-famous adage, “Know thyself,” and it still holds true today. Entrepreneurs need to know how to self-reflect and understand their strengths, weaknesses, motivations and behaviours. By identifying those, it will be a way to help yourself deal with any hardships ahead.
“The real answer to dealing with any hardship [has] to come from within,” Wilson said. “Understand yourself … and then explore within to find any ‘blind spots’ that could potentially affect your reality and your outcomes. Once you start getting in touch with this more, you can be aware of how you personally need to handle hardships, and be prepared to deal with these in a more empowering way.”
Be Flexible and Compartmentalised
In the midst of a personal or business crisis, many entrepreneurs let their emotions spill over from one side to the other. Ryan Blair, CEO and co-founder of ViSalus said this “emotional attachment” to certain issues doesn’t do you any favours — instead, you need to practice isolating each problem and dealing with it head-on, one at a time.
“Emotionally attached … people blow up their businesses when their marriages fail, or they quit working when things don’t go their way,” Blair said. “The only way to survive the constant battle tests is to compartmentalize your life, and adopt an ‘at war’ mind-set. Don’t waste time dwelling on the ‘why’ and ‘how.’ You have to fight. If you’re unable to isolate issues, or you spend all your energy fighting with the wrong mind-set, then you might not have a business for very long.”
Survive and Thrive
If you’re in the middle of a difficult financial or personal situation right now, it can be a struggle just to get out of bed in the morning, let alone keep your business running. Here are some advice for persevering and making it through.
Keep pushing forward. “No matter how crazy you may seem to some or how many people tell you ‘no,’ or how little support you may have both emotionally and financially, you have to keep pushing forward. If you are truly passionate about what you are doing, then none of the negatives will be able to have any major effect on you.” – Erik Wilson
Look for the silver lining. “Stay positive through the hard times. Every business owner will face countless challenges, and those challenges may very well be what changes you and your business for the better in the long run.” – Roger Murphy
Believe in yourself above all else. “You can rely on a great team, family or whoever else you look to as a support network, but at the end of the day, you have to be the responsible party and the decision maker. Tough decisions are never easy and rarely popular. Believing in yourself will help pull you through until you turn things around.” – Bill Redfern
Draw strength from what weakens you. “When you experience pain, your tolerance goes up, and you only learn survival skills by surviving. In other words, suffering is the greatest teacher. So, get comfortable with your failures and crises. Adversity is not only inevitable, but necessary. Don’t be afraid to hit bottom, because this is the strongest foundation to build an empire on.” – Ryan Blair