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VIEWPOINT: 5 Tips to Make Entrepreneurs Resilient When Challenges Threaten their Business

By James Webb

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Many entrepreneurs discover that building a business brings difficult challenges, which in turn require resilience to overcome. 

 But simply having the capacity to recover and keep going doesn’t always lead to better results. Resilience in the context of long-term business success also means learning from past difficulties and, as a result, changing direction to the right path. 

 “Pivot” has become the preferred word among business owners while trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. For many companies now, it’s pivot-or-die. 

 Resilience and the ability to pivot go hand-in-hand. Resilience is the key ingredient of success and the thing that will never let you down. And it is also about looking at different paths and taking one, acknowledging you were wrong, learning how to fix it, and doing so.

 Here are five tips to help entrepreneurs be resilient and pivot in these challenging times:

• Hope for the upside, but plan for the downside. In business, it’s easy to let a vision of great things ahead trick you into ignoring the real possibility of failure. Every entrepreneur does it. Every great business has more than one plan. COVID has weeded out those businesses that never planned for the downside.

• Let go when your gut tells you to. Today’s business world moves too fast and leaves too many behind for a struggling entrepreneur to stay stuck in their ineffective ways for long. You have to trust your instincts and learn when to step away, and to find another path. Rather than beat your head against a stone wall, find a way around, over, or under that wall, and continue on the new path of your choosing.

• Give in the deep end — even if you’re not fully ready. I have met many people in business and in life who trust the philosophy that your next move should be the one for which you’re already prepared. I disagree. Pursue your next path regardless of your level of preparation. Be decisive. Be confident in the fact that if you’re smart and focused, you’ll learn faster when you’re in over your head or out of your depth.

• Learn the powers of contingency management. Entrepreneurs sometimes get overwhelmed by adversity because they are too controlling by nature. Empowering people as a regular practice and overseeing a collaborative work culture leads to calm and problem-solving when difficulties surface. Manage the situation, but don’t rule it. Care for your people, but don’t set them up for failure by micromanaging them. Hold them accountable but don’t be a dictator. Being resilient as a company and pivoting the right way can only happen if there is mutual trust and a comfort level between the business owner and his workforce.

• See every closing door as a new one opening. When things aren’t working as they once did, entrepreneurs need a mindset that embraces a challenge and is excited by finding a new way to make things better. I have found that the most important lessons in life are the ones you don’t see coming, and they bring opportunities you hadn’t considered. When a new opportunity presents itself as a better way, take the risk.

 Resilience doesn’t just get back up. Resilience finds a way.      

James Webb (www.jamesharoldwebb.com) is the author of “Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity.” His career in radiology saw him rise from a technologist to becoming a leader in the industry as the entrepreneur of several companies. After over 40 years in the medical field, Webb focused on the fitness sector, owning and overseeing the management of 33 Orangetheory Fitness franchises

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