As a business owner, sooner or later you will experience a setback - in fact, you should experience many professional challenges over the course of your business journey. It is almost inevitable and you shouldn’t actively avoid it because the lessons you learn from them are invaluable.
You’d be one of few business owners if you didn’t experience one, some, or even all of the following:
- A difficulty with an unscalable business model
- Loss of key accounts and clients
- Hiring woes and challenges retaining key employees
- Lack of financial foresight, and poor cash flow
- Poor marketing and promotion, lacking customer acquisition
- Inadequate systems, processes and reporting
- Zero time for planning, growth and future-proofing
We have a tendency to become a little blinded by our own experience. Business models that may have worked well just a few short years ago, might not cut it in today’s techy market! When things go wrong in your business it can feel very personal. You’ve poured a lot of time, energy and expertise in, only to have it turn around and give you a proverbial slap.
Even in business we are human, perhaps even more so with critical decision-making, expertise and leadership expected of us on a daily basis. While we’d all love to avoid problems, they’re not necessarily a bad thing the long term. There are many learning opportunities to embrace out of a business blunder that can be utilised for the betterment of yourself, and your brand.
So, when you find yourself in the midst of a crisis, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and follow these useful tips to bounce back from a business setback - not just financially; but personally. When your confidence has copped a beating, notch it up to experience, recover with pride and prepare yourself for the next challenge.
Appreciate that failure represents a defining moment
Even though they feel like THE WORST at the time, negative events aren’t the end of the world. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, we are products of our experiences in life and in business. Consider mistakes to be valuable training; lessons that you can transform into opportunities to build a better future for your business. For every mistake you make, there is someone else out there who is yet to learn the same lesson - you’re several steps ahead of them.
Major challenges force you to work harder to resolve difficulties in order to achieve a greater purpose. Troublesome times are not easy to forget, we’re prone to dwelling on them obsessively, so you’re not likely to repeat problems if you take the time to reflect on, and address the reasons why they occurred.
Work on the strengths and weaknesses in your company
Celebrate your achievements, and clearly identify the events that led to your setback. Once you have pinpointed the core reasons for your problems, it is important to re-evaluate the strengths and weaknesses within your operation, and adjust accordingly in order to avoid facing the same issues.
Support, nurture and scale the aspects (and the people) of your business that are performing well; and even though you may be feeling the strain, give yourself a little pat on the back for those wins - you created a platform for them after all.
Trust your gut
Experiencing a business setback, believe it or not, helps your body learn and incorporate alarm and warning signals. If you have been betrayed by a business partner too many times, your gut will probably be the decider the next time you choose a business partner. It is important to trust yourself more than what other people say. If you find someone with the right skill set but poor character, and it’s not quite sitting right with you, chances are it’s a huge mistake to hire them.
Setback recovery is a good time to purge some more of these potential problems. People are less likely to question your reasoning when you’re in crisis mode.
Clarify your "why”
Business failure can often stem from a lack of clarity around your business. Trying to please everyone and appeal to a market that is too broad can lead you swiftly to nowhere! You’ll probably find when you dig deep that the belief system behind your business - why you own it, and its true purpose is quite specific. This then makes your ideal audience quite specific and therefore your message, values and ‘brand.’ When you properly answer the "why” of your business, you may realise that the message was too weak before. The lesson is to make sure your core beliefs and point of difference is clear and aligned with your market and their needs. How can your staff and customers become raving fans if they’re not sure what you’re all about?
Make good things great
Good can be the enemy of great. Sometimes for the sake of your business growth, it is important to let go of the good things in life and take risks to make way for greater things. You know the saying "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it?” That’s all well and good...but that’s probably what your competitors are doing too. If it ain’t broke, great! What can you do to make it even better and leave the competition in your dust?
Sometimes business shortfalls are a product of playing it too safe and not taking considered risks for better results. It can be scary to make tough choices, but when you choose correctly they can lead to great reward. You have to risk it to get the biscuit. Am I right???
Study those figures
Guaranteed when you experience a setback if you track backwards over your bookwork leading up to the problem
you’ll find there might have been some clues and warning signs.
Your books and financial records are a gateway to predicting future problems AND opportunities. There’s a lot of insight and foresight that can be gleaned from financial data. If studying figures isn’t your thing, a great bookkeeper or advisor with experience in your field should be able to help you spot patterns, gaps, potential risks and areas or opportunity that could use your focus BEFORE the you-know-what hits the fan.
It can be difficult to observe your business objectively through fresh eyes, it’s worth making sure that ALL of the eyes looking over your operation are always scanning for ways to help you move forward.
Find your place, and balance in business life
Richard Branson is always talking about work/life balance and enjoying yourself; and that man knows a thing or two. He has often said that he has never understood why people separate work and play. "It’s all Living,” he says. "We should be able to have fun at work and bring out the best in each other.”
When you’re doing your best to bounce back from a business setback, you’ll do yourself a favour by keeping this mantra in mind. Think about what you need to do to enjoy your business. There’s no point dreading going to work every day and feeling like you’re stuck in a rut, bored or unhappy with your career path. So how can you position yourself where you’re working your strengths and loving what you do? Hire professionals to take over areas where you struggle or feel frustrated and unfulfilled, and make the time for a little living can be the answer to all your prayers. When you’re the best version of yourself, you have every chance of achieving the best version of your business! Your biz is an extension of you after all.
Live better, love more, fight harder, stay calm and try to be a better human in all that you do. But above all, look after yourself. It’s onwards and upwards from here!
Supporting business owners is what we do! Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint the reason for a business failure. Financial, personal, operational and industry reflection is a good place to start. Identifying, accepting and working out how to avoid the same problems in future will help you bounce back stronger and smarter than ever before. Don’t dwell on it, act on it! If you’d love a hand to look over your books and company finances for gaps, patterns and opportunities, contact the experts at Shoebox today.