Are you exhausted with the ongoing lockdowns, the never-ending uncertainty and trying to stay positive for your team and customers? Right now, increasing our capacity to overcome these challenges and developing greater flexibility is an absolute necessity. Entrepreneurs must be resilient if they want to survive.
Resilience is the art of staying calm in the face of disaster, times of great stress and challenge. It is the ability to bounce back quickly and unscathed by the challenge and setbacks you face. Resilient people are able to utilize their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges.
Resilience is a critical skill to hone as an entrepreneur. If you have a bad month of sales and your revenues are down, panicking and throwing in the towel are not going to serve you. The sky is not falling. As an entrepreneur, there are so many moving pieces of business, people, customers and self to manage that staying in control and working through situations becomes essential.
When faced with a challenging time or event, I want you to stop, stake stock of the situation, see it for what it is — not what you’re afraid it might become in your panicked state. Look at what you can control and influence to see how you can best contribute to every situation.
Here is my advice for building personal resilience as an entrepreneur:
- Build a network around you of others business owners who have been through this before and can empathize with your situations and challenges.
- Test yourself regularly and lightly; push your comfort zone and boundaries a little more each time to strengthen your resilience muscles.
- Recognize your current resilience and journal about how you overcome or endure challenges already.
- Realize most of the things you worry about never come true.
- Appreciate the irrational nature of thoughts like, “What if our sales go completely to zero tomorrow!?”
- Exercise daily to clear your mind and body of the mental and physical stress of entrepreneurship.
- Meditate to get clarity and focus back to be on the top of your game — even just 10 mins a day.
- Develop and build a team of capable people around you that can “share the load”.
- Learn, read and listen to grow your knowledge and indirect experience.
- Be bold and vulnerable enough to state your fears and concerns as part of your leadership style.
- Allow yourself a limited period of time to be upset or frustrated with a setback, and then I let it go.
- Develop a conscious approach to building resilience and use these tools on a regular basis.
And it’s not just the entrepreneur themselves that must work on building resilience. A business can put practices in place to build its resilience as well. Here are my suggestions for building a resilient business:
- Develop reserves for the business: extra funds in a secret account, the bullpen of people to call on, emergency resources (inventory, back-up supplier) so you have tools and capacity available in tough situations.
- Create challenges for your team to have to overcome in a controlled way. Give them problems and challenges to solve as exercises each month. Much like war games for the military.
- Stress-test your operations by doubling or tripling production and see what breaks first in your processes. This can be a physical test or a mental exercise with your team.
- Cross-train your people and develop processes to make your organization less dependent on each individual and more resilient to future changes.
- Train your team to expand on their skills and create situational readiness.
- Artificially create “lack” to force your organization to adapt and improve resilience. Move extra funds out of the main bank so money is tight. Reduce budgets and ask for more creative options. Shorten timelines to force new ways to work.
I hope these suggestions help you create a little more personal resilience and a stronger more future-proof business. If the last year has taught us anything, it is to be prepared.
Let me know which of these strategies you are already practicing and which ones you are going to start working on. If you need a little clarification or have questions, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!