Anyone who is a successful entrepreneur will tell you that the skill of overcoming adversity is one that is learned early on.
Invariably, there will be business challenges to face within the first year of starting a new business. Obstacles need to be overcome to get to the next level of success, and learning the skill of business resilience is crucial.
The good news is that resilience can be learned. Once the skill becomes ingrained, there are numerous opportunities for the business owner to learn to shrug off adversity as something that is par for the course.
Overcoming Adversity As A Startup
Leaving behind the safety and security of a job working for someone else is not for everyone. A study by CNN business showed that the rate of U.S. entrepreneurship has been declining since the late 1970s.
You have to have the stomach for taking risks in starting a new business. It is risky, and if you have a family to support, it cannot only be risky but also put stress on your family.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) stated that four out of five establishments that start up last through their the first year in business. Although this may sound encouraging at first, realize that about 50% get through five years in business, and then only 33% last past the 10 year point.
At Nova Custom Printing, we are now months away from our 25th anniversary. We’ve witnessed competitors come and go throughout the years, and learned what works and what doesn’t. So what does it take to create and run a business that lasts?
Overcoming Business Challenges
Michael Nova, Director of Nova Custom Printing did go through a period where the business was in trouble. Since the company was successful, Michael felt secure enough to take some time off from the business to invest in the creation of the music and film multimedia project, X: The Human Condition.
The project was created to make a difference in the community, inspiring people to never give up, but the film production took up so much time, that he lost sight of the daily machinations of the business.
Paying a visit to the bank to withdraw additional funding for film production, he suddenly found that the business account was overdrawn and on the brink of bankruptcy.
At the same time, he experienced severe illness, leading to the loss of his vision. This was a dark time for him, literally, as he had to not only battle health problems but save his business at the same time.
Michael states, “The adversity I faced was a blessing in disguise. It got me to literally “see”my life differently. I began to be grateful for all the little things that we, as human beings take for granted.”
By becoming grateful for what was working instead of fixating on what was not working, he rescued the business, his health and the multimedia project by sheer force of will. He manifested a complete recovery, with the business now stronger than ever. In addition, the film became a success. It was recently selected by Amazon Prime Video to be featured in all English fluent countries around the world.
Michael’s resilience led to the creation of the website, RiseUpEight.org, where people from all walks of life now share their stories of overcoming adversity in order to inspire others to never give up.
Having studied hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) for years, he’d had training in mastering the psychological aspects of overcoming adversity, but all that training was nothing compared to experiencing real adversity first-hand.
Through his own experience and the shared experiences of people throughout the world, Michael Nova now shares 5 tips that can make a difference in dealing with both business-related and life related adversity…
1. Don’t Over-Think
When faced with obstacles in business, make sure you don’t drive yourself crazy from overthinking. Spending hours trying to work out a problem in your brain results in overload.
Taking a break from deep thinking allows you to go even deeper if you can come back to it after taking a break from deep introspection.
It may seem as if these business challenges need immediate fixing. However, if solutionsnot apparent within a reasonable amount of time, it’s important to focus on something else and come back to the issue later on.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, taking time off can actually help when coming back to handle the problem.
This allows your brain to refocus, just as if restarting a computer. Once restarted, your focus can become clear and more effective.
Although it may seem that the problem you are facing is something that no one else has possibly experienced in the entire existence of humanity, the truth is that someone else has experienced something similar.
To overcome adversity in business, finding someone who can act as a mentor can be enormously valuable. Whether they are paid or not it is of little consequence, because when weighing the time spent overcoming business challenges versus the cost of hiring someone to help, it’s worth the expense.
The option to hire a mentor can save time and money in the long run because it allows the business owner to focus on the business, and not on solving problems.
A study by UPS showed that “70% of small business owners that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, double the rate of those who do not receive mentoring.”
The other point to make here is that entrepreneurs often want to do it all themselves. As someone who has tried to do it all myself, I can vouch for the fact that one human being can’t do everything. We can do most of everything ourselves, but not everything. It’s just impossible to be an expert at everything!
Where To Find A Mentor
So where can we find mentors? Well, unfortunately, you can’t pick one off a tree. But a tree is a good analogy, because just as we are branches on a tree, there are other branches on the same tree. Putting the word out that you need help with an issue through colleagues, friends or acquaintances can often bring someone into the fold who can help.
On LinkedIn, creating an advanced search entering your ZIP Code and alma mater can connect you with a fellow graduate who may be able to help.
It’s all about reaching out and asking for help, not in a desperate way where you might turn off people, but in a way that brings benefits to the other person. It’s important to have something to offer in return, because we live in a “what’s in it for me” world.
The small business administration (SBA)’s program, Score offers mentoring through volunteer business experts free of charge nationally. Often these volunteers have gone through similar issues in their own businesses and come out the other side. Their expertise can help.
3. Follow The Athlete’s Example
When an athlete loses a match or game, they often say it was a good thing. This is because they learned something from the experience. Every coach takes the opportunity to take teachable moments from losses that he can use to improve the athlete’s performance in the future.
“Never think of adversity as your enemy, think of it as your ally” is my personal slogan. Learning to overcome adversity toughens you up. Learning from losses teaches you much more than learning from your wins.
This allows us to develop the wisdom to avoid similarities in the future. In turn this allows us to become successful. The losses are not easily forgettable, so they can be motivating as well.
Athletes only improve when they are exposed to athletes that are superior to them. Similarly, we must expose ourselves to people who have more knowledge or talent than we do in order for us to improve.
Surround Yourself With Winners
Try to surround yourself with people who are better than you at certain aspects of business, so that you can learn from them. It’s often a good idea to hire employees that possess knowledge in areas that you may feel weakest in. This strengthens the organization, adding additional expertise that can set the company apart from its competitors.
This can also include hiring a business coach. Athletes have coaches, and everyone could use a quality coach in business, even if it’s just getting the business off the ground.
Once the basics are in place, it’s possible for a business owner to take it from there. Similarly, if someone wants to reach another level of business success, they may need short-term coaching to “get over the hump”.
4. Don’t Go Into Isolation
It’s common for humans to isolate themselves from others when they are trying to overcome adversity. This is counterproductive however. You might think that you don’t want to bother others with your problems. You might believe that others may not understand what you’re going through. In truth, isolating yourself is the worst thing you can do.
The skill of developing business resilience can be best accelerated through connecting with others.
The phrase, “You are not alone” has been overused, but is very appropriate here, because solving business problems on your own is not only difficult but physically demanding. Stress levels go up, and health can become affected, causing time off of work due to illness. Taking that road can lead to disaster, as I’ve personally experienced.
Make sure to reach out to others as we discussed before. This will not only help solve the problem, but also help you feel like the weight of the world is not on your shoulders alone. The psychological aspects of being an entrepreneur are just as important as the practical aspects. Keep them in balance in order to move forward.
5. Think of business resilience as a video game
Looking at things in a different way can often shed light on what seems like an insurmountable obstacle.
Starting up and creating a business is just like becoming the main character in a video game. There are challenges at every level.
Once you beat the challenge on the first level, there will come a greater challenge on the next level that you must conquer.
But the great thing about this experience is that, again, just like in a video game, your powers increase with each level conquered. You become stronger and wiser with each challenge you overcome.
Developing Business Resilience
The downside is that the challenges never end. However, it does get easier over time. Through this “trial by fire”, you become more adept to handling the challenges with each level conquered.
Understanding this from the beginning, you are never blindsided, because you realize that running a business will invariably be full of challenges, and you welcome it on a certain level, to test your mettle.
This is why becoming an entrepreneur is not for everyone. It’s not safe and secure and 9 to 5 every day. You have to do what must be done, as long as it takes, but the rewards can be great.
The marketing company Wealth X surveyed 585 billionaires in 2016, finding that 62% achieved billionaire status by building their own businesses through entrepreneurship.
But whether you achieve billionaire, millionaire or like most of us, middle-class status, the final level in the video game is one to look forward to, when you’ve finally beaten the game, and you can try your hand at a different game…retirement. Golf anyone?