Running a small business is not easy. Whether it’s your first or fifth, there are always challenges that you will face. Unfortunately, the worst of these can be setbacks, events that you cannot control and which halt progression on all fronts for an extended period. As difficult as they may be to deal with, Damon Becnel shares some steps you can take to help minimize their harm to your business and maximize the opportunities they present to grow stronger in the aftermath.
Be Honest with Yourself
If you are struggling, do not be afraid to admit it: your team members have most likely already realized this. While being transparent with employees is important in any organization, nowhere more so than a small one where everyone has the potential to know everything about its inner workings at all times. Those who look up to you as their leader will appreciate honesty far more than false optimism (which breeds distrust).
Do what needs to be Done
If there’s work that must get done regardless of how bad things might seem on the surface, focus only on that until morale improves or external factors change. If customers need support or salespeople require guidance, then offer them immediately rather than waiting for better days when such tasks would feel.
Stay Positive and don’t Dwell on the Setback
No one wants to be around a constantly negative person, and nothing saps motivation like despair; staying positive, or at least appearing so, will help morale within your organization while also encouraging others outside of it to support you in good times bad.
Take the Time that You Need
Setbacks can take an emotional toll on even the strongest leaders, so don’t try and put up a false front if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Let those close to knowing how you feel but remember not everyone has experienced what it’s like being in your shoes, so keep such matters private when possible. Even though setbacks are typically unexpected events, they still tend to catch us by surprise, which means we rarely come prepared for them because our minds aren’t focused on them when they happen.
Take Time Off if Needed
If things still aren’t improving after taking all of these steps, consider removing yourself from the situation entirely by going on vacation – ideally somewhere relaxing where you can clear your mind and recharge without interruption. While being present during a setback is important because there are responsibilities that cannot go unattended, you shouldn’t allow yourself to remain so preoccupied with the problem that it becomes all-consuming.
Ask for Help if you Need It
It’s always better to ask for help when you need it than to hold in your concerns until they boil over; while some setbacks can be managed alone, many will require the assistance of others, so don’t feel embarrassed about reaching out. Not only does this demonstrate a willingness to face problems head-on, but it also reminds people that no one is an island and everyone benefits from the success of others.
While it can be difficult to acknowledge your weaknesses as a boss, asking for help when you need it is not only the best course of action but also one that will make those around you see how serious you are about overcoming the problem and inspiring them to do their part (which they always appreciate). Don’t forget: setbacks happen because they are beyond your control, not because they were predestined.
Keep your Eye on the Prize
No matter how much you believe in your dream, setbacks will always present an opportunity to give up, so don’t allow yourself the easy way out. Stay focused on your end goal, and remember that although not all problems are easily solved by positive thinking, things can get better, even if they take time – which they probably will.
Get Back to Work
Life goes on, and while it may feel like the end of the world when you’re going through a setback, that’s simply not true. So get back to work because your customers are counting on you – even if things seem impossible right now. Work may be the best thing for you at this point, so keep your head up and remember that setbacks are a normal part of the business.
Remember: the only way to move forward is to not give up as life will return to normal sooner than later.
“When you’re faced with a major setback, it can feel like the world is ending. But as entrepreneurs, we know that this isn’t true; sometimes life throws us curveballs, and now more than ever, we need to be prepared for them. Not only do setbacks teach us how to deal with adversity, but they also help shape our character and who we are at our core. As an entrepreneur, I have learned that if you fall, then get back up again – no matter what happens or how many times you trip over yourself along the way.” -Kelsey Cook.