Norm is a 30 year veteran entrepreneur, specializing in creating workshops in partnerships with cities, chambers, nonprofits and associations. www.OPISnetwork.com
Every business—every person—runs into challenges on a regular basis. It’s how you react to them and learn from them that determines your direction. So let’s identify that process.
Whether they include lack of business, poor service from vendors, slow (or no pay) from clients, these things will crop up every day, in many cases several times a day. Life is full of challenges and the only way to defeat them is to confront them. Many times we tend to sweep things “under the rug” to coin a phrase, and that delaying tactic will virtually never pay off. Before you react emotionally you must assess the situation with calm and logic and determine the next step: Solutions
Every challenge has a solution. Always. The problem is that the solution may not be what you want or need. And ego will many times stop entrepreneurs from changing their ways. My opinion is that out of control or stubborn egos will kill more businesses than any downturn in the economy.
So how do you find solutions? Sometimes you can figure them out but there are only three possible strategies:
- Do nothing. Yes that IS a solution albeit a poor one. But it is one that many of us take.
- Seek help. That can come from free resources, friends or paid professionals
- Implement solutions on your own. Most times that is instinct or gut feel which has varying degrees of success.
The one I prefer is No. 2 since it has the greatest likelihood of success. Put the ego aside and ask for help. Doing nothing is usually a crap shoot since the problem can sometimes go away on its own, but many times it lingers or even gets worse. There is lots of help available, more than ever before, and you can start with the most traditional, like SBA, SCORE or SBDC Centers, plus many associations have training and workshops on addressing various specific needs. At one time finding help was difficult, with few choices; today online support, web sites, meet-ups, entrepreneurial associations abound. Take advantage of them, especially if the self-employed market is new to you.
Following course No. 3 is also a common direction and the caveat is to remove yourself from the emotional reactions and work on the logical.
“What are the worse things that can happen?” is a question you must ask yourself all the time. As the saying goes, “Plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
And finally, on to the fun stuff: Potential
If your business has no potential or if you don’t know what it is you must STOP and reassess yourself and what you do. No one starts a business to be normal or mediocre so if you are an entrepreneur or business owner you must strive to be different, to be better than all your competition. If that doesn’t resonate with you then it would be wise to seek some outside help to find out if you really understand what you do and why you are doing it.
And this is where mentorship, support and incubators really accelerate you into the stratosphere. There are many ways to do things wrong, and just a few ways to do things right. Entrepreneurship for many years was a non-existant word and if someone ventured off to “do their own thing” they were many times criticized and shunned and thought to be deadbeats or lazy or even losers. Relationships and friendships have been damaged by being different, but the world is a different place and young entrepreneurship is creating very wealthy teenagers and even pre-teens in some cases.
Understand and embrace your CSP; find your potential. Reach your potential. Be different; be better and Persist without Exception.
Norm Bour – author, business strategist, nonprofit consultant
Success at Any Age: The Baby Boomer’s (and Gen Y) – Guide to becoming an Overnight Success
- scheduled publication date: Spring, 2012
“We may lose confidence, but never lose hope”
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