The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Resilience

by | Jun 7, 2024 | 0 comments

Running a small business is a BIG endeavor. Yet, many leaders don’t just survive but thrive under pressure. In my experience, the business owners who last share a common characteristic: resilience.

When you run a small business, obstacles will inevitably arise, and plans will not always work out as expected. Resilient leaders adapt, learn from failure, and keep going even when things get tough–and the best learn how to turn hard times into opportunities.

You have to go through lows to grow

Behind every successful business owner is a history of challenges–it’s why 21.9 percent close up shop in the first year. Regardless of how strategic you are or how hard you work, some things will fail or cause delays.

In fact, some of the best strategies have still failed in practice–it’s just a matter of circumstances, market reality, and a bit of (good or bad) luck.

The key is anticipating issues so you aren’t broadsided when they happen. Whatever the issue, it’s important to have contingency plans and the resilience to bounce back repeatedly.

You can only focus on what you can control

A stoic phrase says, “The obstacle is the way.” When faced with challenges, instead of avoiding or ignoring them, we should embrace and tackle them head-on.

It’s tempting to fixate on external factors you can’t control, and play the victim when challenges hit. I totally understand worrying about the economy, market trends in your industry, your largest competitor undercutting prices, negative reviews, and much more.

But rather than obsess over how to directly change elements out of your sphere of influence, shift your mindset and focus on what you and your team can control.

You have to own your journey

As an entrepreneur, you will make mistakes. Sorry, it’s inevitable. But it’s not about your mistakes, but how you manage them and bounce back. Here are some ownership mantras to put in your pocket:

Take responsibility rather than blaming external factors.
Analyze to understand the root causes.
Make changes to avoid repeat issues.
Share lessons with your team.
Radically care for yourself.
If you ignore challenges, they will eventually appear in your business. Find mentors, take time away, build a support network–whatever it takes to stay healthy and focused.

At first, self-care may feel unproductive. But think of it as necessary maintenance that gives you the energy and focus to lead others through challenges. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Resilience is calling

Building resilience takes ongoing work but is one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can develop. By planning for problems, learning from failures, and caring for your needs, you’ll have the tools to handle adversity and lead your company to success. Don’t underestimate the power of resilience.

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