By Shamil Shamilov, managing partner at dNOVO Group.
Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, especially in recent years. Since the onset of Covid-19, business owners have had to learn to adapt or risk being swept under a tide of failure. The pandemic forced many enterprises to pivot to a remote work environment or introduce necessary upgrades to safely serve customers and clients. Then came supply chain issues, runaway inflation and a conflict thousands of miles away overseas that led to skyrocketing energy prices.
There is no doubt that business owners both big and small have experienced pain and angst recently, and it can be daunting to carry on in troubled times. However, there can be opportunities in any crisis. It is all about how you meet the challenge.
Tenacity and persistence are contagious. If you are able to push back when things are not going well, it can inspire those around you to do the same; and let’s not forget, teamwork can be a powerful force in overcoming challenges. This is your business and there is sweat and toil that goes along with it. Do you really want to back down just because things get a little tough?
1. Consider the big picture.
It may seem like an odd concept but a smart business person plans to fail. That doesn’t mean you want to fall flat on your face—far from it. But expecting the best result while preparing for the worst can help you to meet challenges head-on and develop contingencies that will help get you over any unexpected hurdle.
Be optimistic but realistic. There is no harm in setting lofty goals for the future but are they attainable? Think of your business enterprise as a marathon. Each mile is important, but you shouldn’t look so far down the road that you fail to see the obstacles right in front of you. If you don’t have a sound plan for the next business mile ahead, the race can be lost.
You may have little control of things beyond your front door, but that doesn’t mean you should sit idly by and hope for the best. Be proactive. Examine the current economic situation on a larger scale and consider why it is happening.
Taking a big-picture approach can help you prioritize and set more realistic goals that can enhance your chance of success. Remember, we all have to deal with forces beyond our control and, for some, it can be easier to ignore these issues. But if you take the time to understand and accept the big picture you may be able to develop useful strategies and profit from them. Keep an open mind and consider new ideas and different perspectives. You could find your long-term possibilities are brighter than you believed.
2. Accept responsibility—all onus is on you.
Are you hindering your chances for success? It happens. Bad things occur regularly in any business. You are not the first to be faced with adversity and you won’t be the last. When bad things happen to you, are you looking for someone to blame? You may not be at fault. There may be factors, both external and internal, that led to a crisis but, in the end, you are responsible for dealing with the fallout. Recognizing mistakes and taking responsibility when warranted can help you move on.
Failure is essentially inescapable in business, but it can actually lead to greater success if you persevere. Of course, there must be some wisdom accompanying your continued efforts. After you fail, you cannot expect to keep doing things the same way and getting different results.
Remind yourself that this is one more episode in the journey that is long, and how you react is the thing that you will remember.
3. Realize you control your actions.
You cannot turn the clock back when problems arise. You must confront them. When faced with a challenge, spend less time being down and defensive and make a conscious choice to be positive, proactive and productive. If the problem was external, ask yourself if there was any way you could have anticipated it. Could you have taken steps to make your company more flexible and less prone to a crisis? If you are dealing with an internal issue, such as a personnel problem, ask yourself if you had the wrong person in the wrong job. Was there a fail-safe mechanism that would have prevented the situation from getting out of hand?
There are times when you are going to have to get down in the trenches and get your hands dirty. Meaningful change comes with meaningful effort. You may have to admit that the plan you had in place led to the eventual breakdown. Situations such as these are designed to separate those who fold and those who prevail. It’s within you to control on which side you land.
4. Remember the future is bright, so be positive.
Negative thinking can be the death knell for any business. It leads to stress and saps enthusiasm and energy. It is not always possible to have a sunny attitude when times are tough. Nor should you blindly believe that everything will turn out for the best. However, there are many positives to thinking positively. It reduces stress levels, boosts productivity, facilitates interaction and can help build strong workplace relationships. It can also make you more eager to take on new opportunities, more resilient and better able to face any bumps in the road.
When faced with a crisis, the future may appear gloomy, but it is important to remember that after a storm there can be a period of growth and profitability. Be proactive and search for solutions. Keep in mind, for example, that technology provides the tools that can enhance your progress and lead to rapid expansion.
You are in this for the long run, so keep telling yourself that the future is bright and filled with opportunity.