How to Overcome Business Setbacks and Achieve Success
Every business owner understands the place of uncertainties in business. Sometimes, in trying to set your business up for success, you face downturns. This could be from a business decision that went bad or a trapped investment that is taking longer than necessary to produce the anticipated ROI. At some point in your business, you’re likely going to experience a set-back. For some, it’s at the baby stage, while others experience it much later in the life of their business.
This is not exclusive to small businesses, even the big wigs go through difficult times in their businesses. A good example is Walt Disney. Walt Disney has made his name in the entertainment and lifestyle industry. But, as successful as he is today, his business went through a near-death experience back in the 1920s and 1930s. It got so bad that he lost the right to most of his popular characters, in a bid to find a way out of the financial mess. As a matter of fact, by early 1930, he was in big debt to the tune of 4 million dollars.
He would have declared bankruptcy and called it quits. But he braved the situation and took on a project that became the life-saver for his business. In 1938, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was released and it went on to become the blockbuster movie that saved the company from imminent bankruptcy.
As a company, Clients Oasis has been through a lot over the years. We’ve struggled with meeting up with our financial obligations and it got so bad that we almost closed shop. However, we have always believed that tough times don’t last, only tough people do. So we have always walked ourselves out of set-backs – whether they were self-inflicted or due to unforeseen circumstances.
The problem is not whether or not you will have a business setback, it is how you handle it when it happens. This is because in business, you have either experienced a setback or you are yet to.
If you are going through a setback right now, here are ways you can overcome it and still succeed in business.
1. Take Responsibility
Yes, your business is your responsibility. Whatever happens to it, is on you. So if your business is in a bad place right now, you need to take full responsibility for it. That is the way to be in charge throughout the tough times.
Taking responsibility is not about blaming yourself for the mess in your business. That’s far from it. This involves taking a critical look at the strings of actions that brought your business to where it is right now. What was it that happened that got your business to that bad place? If it’s a business mistake, you need to own up to it. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. When you begin to cast blames, it puts you in defensive position and worsens the situation. If you feel frustrated, it’s fine. But don’t point blame on yourself or others for that matter.
Sometimes, the setbacks we face isn’t as a result of anything we’ve done directly. It could be that there was a shake-up in your market that affected your business badly. Taking responsibility means that you are aware of the root cause of your business setback. You reflect on any indicators that you missed that would have saved your business from crashing.
When you take responsibility, it makes you proactive in finding a way out of the setback. You don’t just figure out what went wrong, you take steps to fix it and get your business back on its feet. It spurs you into action. Of course, when you don’t take action, nothing gets solved. You don’t hope that something happens that will turn everything around for good. You take the bull by the horns and do what you have to do to save your business.
2. See It For What It Is
It’s a setback and not an implosion. Don’t fall for the temptation of blowing things out of proportion. Whatever you are facing in your business right now is not peculiar to you. So, your setback is not an indication of your ineptitude, it’s just a glitch that every business goes through. Granted, some might be more grievous than others. But in all, it’s a setback and that’s what it is.
Most business owners, especially startups get trapped into seeing a setback for what it is not. They freak out based on what they feel could be their fate, and not the actual situation. This leads to making decisions that are panic-oriented that leads them far away from their desired turnaround.
It is important you look at a business setback with objectivity. Imagine that someone going through the same business crisis came to you. What questions would you ask them? What kind of advice would you give them? How would you encourage them to handle it? The answers you give to this imaginary business person, give it to yourself. Don’t let your attachment to your business make you see things other than the way they are. You are allowed to have different perspectives of the situation only if it doesn’t escalate it and make you see it for what it is not.
Don’t be in a hurry to blow the situation out of proportion. Be sure of what you are dealing with. Did you lose money that gets vendors and creditors on your neck? Did you project a product or service that is a slap on the reputation of your business? Whatever it is, you need to look at the situation with clarity to know the exact thing you’re dealing with. Only then can you be able to get a workable solution to get your business out of the dung hill.
3. Apply Fresh and Updated Strategies
The fact that your business is in a mess right now is indicative that certain strategies aren’t working for you anymore. The way you run your business has to be changed. If you keep doing the things you have been doing, you subject your business to further down-sliding. Your strategies have to change if your business must come back to life.
A good example of this approach is Howard Schultz, who is a strong candidate for the 2020 American Presidential elections. Before his foray into politics, he served twice as CEO of Starbucks. During his time at Starbucks, he turned the company’s fortunes around on two occasions.
In the late 1980s, Starbucks was on the brink of collapse. At the time, Schultz was the Director of Marketing. As a move to save the dying business, he took a trip to Milan and learned the strategies that coffeehouses used to boost their businesses. He learned the magic of giving customers a great espresso experience. On his return to the USA, he took over the business. He applied what he had learned in Milan and grew the business from one struggling store to multi-million dollar business with over 3,500 locations.
The recession of 2008 dealt another blow on Starbucks, with Schultz’s successor implementing strategies that led the business back to the mud. This made Schultz come back from retirement to head the company again. On his return, he reworked many of the strategies he used from the beginning. He discarded the ones that weren’t working. This brought another massive transformation for Starbucks.
This is not to say that you discard everything and start afresh. Find out what still works, and add new strategies to it and see your business rise from the dirt. Schultz did not just pull his old tricks out of the bag. He brought a fresh perspective to them and got rid of the ones that weren’t necessary for the business at that time.
If you must overcome, a setback, you have to implement timely and relevant strategies to your business. The old tricks may have been obsolete. Don’t waste time trying to get them working, just let them go. Implement new strategies that will get your business out of the setback you’re in.
4. Keep Investing in Your Business
Oh, were you expecting me to tell you to put a stamp on investment opportunities? No, I’m not. This is because it won’t get your business out of the mess it’s gotten into. On the contrary, it expedites your closure. After all, what is business without investment?
The reason Walt Disney came out of a 4 million dollars debt was that he didn’t stop investing. It was his investment in the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” project that became the savior of his company.
Most business setbacks are money related. No matter how cash trapped your business is, there just has to be a profitable investment that gives you that glimmer of light. However, you have to be careful so you don’t make a mistake at this stage. It’s not a desperate move to save your business, it’s the smart thing to do. And if you do this right, you could see your business bouncing back from the setback.
Invest in new technologies and processes that give your business a competitive advantage. You might be running on a budget, but your business needs this. Again, you don’t want to come out of a setback the same way you got into it. It doesn’t have to be a new product launch. It could be as simple as giving your business a new corporate image or rebranding your business.
You also have to invest in yourself. Learn new and more effective ways to run your business. As a matter of fact, that’s the biggest investment ever. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, said and I quote:
“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, but it will also improve the lives of all those around you (and your business).”
5. Get Help
Out of all the things I’ve told you so far, this is very critical. Two heads, they say, are better than one. If you talk to someone about your business challenges, it makes it a lot easier for you to find a solution to them. This is important because every business is unique and different. And the solutions you need might be specific to the kind of business you do. This is why I recommend you talk to someone, preferably a business coach.
At Clients Oasis, part of the things we do is help struggling businesses get back on their feet. We listen to you and the peculiar setback you’re having, and then we work with you to develop actionable steps that solve the problem. We provide world-class support for you along the way, knowing that it can be overwhelming most times. We have the best business coaches and strategists that will work with you and pull you out of the mud.
I’m not saying this to promote what we do. It is my responsibility to tell you what to do to succeed in business. If I have something that can help you, the best I can do is tell you. At least you won’t have to start going about looking for a solution that is just a click away.
Got Spilled Milk?
If you do, then I’ve got you covered. You can get another glass of milk. The setback you are experiencing right now doesn’t have to swallow you up. You can overcome it, no matter how crazy it is. Whatever setback you’re going through right now in business, someone may have gone through worse. So, a comeback is always in the cards whenever there’s a setback.
So, to help you deal with setbacks, implement the strategies I have shared with you. As a reminder, here they are again:
- Always take responsibility for your business setback.
- See your setback for what it is – a setback, and nothing more.
- Figure out better strategies for your business and implement them.
- Never stop investing in your business during a setback. Your comeback may just be tied to the right investment.
- Get help. Again, I say, get help.
If you need help implementing these strategies in your business, the offer I made earlier is open for you. There’s a business strategist waiting to talk with you. You can rest assured that it will be a time well spent to get your business back on its feet. To schedule this breakthrough session, click here or use the button below.