From the December 2008 issue of Entrepreneur

Every entrepreneur experiences challenges that make him question whether it's time to quit and try an alternate career. From fluctuating customer desires to increasing costs to changing technology, the events that influence your personal and business success regularly test you. No matter how hard you work to establish a routine, as a startup entrepreneur, you must always be prepared for the unexpected.

Perseverance and a positive attitude play an essential role in the development of any enterprise. Rather than feeling as though you have to start over when you face a radical change, remind yourself of the courage it took to start your business. Constructing your unique business path is a process, and you must learn to be flexible and continually apply the knowledge you've gained. Leveraging that energy provides a catalyst to push you that extra mile when others would stop in their tracks.

  1. Create an exit strategy from the beginning. Trying to decide whether to continue your business can be emotionally draining. Release the fear of quitting by defining the parameters that would make your dream unattainable. Promise yourself that you will only quit when the time is right. This personal acknowledgement subconsciously frees you so you can pursue all possible solutions. As you move forward, what might have seemed like a business-stopping mistake will produce surprising and rewarding results.
  2. Change does not equal failure. Only you can block your own efforts. Roadblocks and setbacks will occur; however, these outside influences don't have to affect your entrepreneurial capacity to move forward. Every situation contains new rewards and unique opportunities for success. Look beyond the obvious negative effects and figure out how the experience can help your business mature and grow. Can you simplify your processes or better serve your customer needs? By seeking solutions, you gain energy and create distinctive methods for obtaining even greater success.
  3. View your business as an experiment. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to persistently gain knowledge that adds to your arsenal of strategies. You're an expert at testing out new ideas and seeing them through to the end. Rather than quit, reignite the entrepreneurial spirit that inspired you to set out on your own. Let your intuition be your guide as you take on new challenges. It's OK to alter your business concept and incorporate all you have learned. Conquering problems breeds self-confidence, which in turn makes you more productive.
  4. Reinforce your willpower. Purpose and passion go hand in hand. Re-energize your spirit by keeping your head clear of negative thoughts. Commit to minimizing actions that drain your energy and associate yourself with people who motivate and inspire you. Take your ideas seriously, and focus on what you've achieved rather than what you may have failed to accomplish.

There are countless paths to accomplishing your goals. Remain flexible and boost your success by developing unique options and remaining open to where your decisions may lead you. When faced with doubt, remind yourself that you can move forward no matter what challenges you may encounter. The answer lies in your own creativity.

Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business. Write to him at romanus@kickstartguy.com.