No business is without its challenges. In fact, the highs and lows of owning a business can be similar to riding a rollercoaster. It’s easy to be overwhelmed when things go badly, but what if every challenge, setback or struggle was actually a gift?
Within our first five years as a business, Cutler PR faced a myriad of challenges. We lost clients, we lost revenue and we had our moments where it seemed doubtful we would make it. However, by using our challenges as building blocks, we were able to become the successful firm we are today.
Consider these five strategies for converting challenges into gifts:
1. Use naysayers as fuel.
There will always be naysayers who cast doubt on new business ventures. I once did a guest lecture in an MBA class where the professor doubted my business in front of his students. All that did was motivate me to push even stronger.
There are always going to be those who are casting doubt on a new business. Use this as fuel to try even harder.
2. Realize a high is usually preceded by a low.
This is the cycle of life and business. The business world is full of uphill battles, and things tend to get worse before they get better. Knowing this doesn’t make challenges any easier to bear. However, thinking long term can help a business see past a current problem to the success waiting just around the corner.
What’s important is to stick it out through the hard times to experience the good times.
3. Remember that necessity is the mother of invention.
When a business finds itself in a bind is often when creativity and inspiration flow the most. When a major client leaves suddenly or another business crisis develops, this can help an organization refocus energy. It may also cause a “challenge is the mother of invention” situation where business leaders must think in different and creative ways they might not have otherwise.
Ultimately, this can lead to a pivot of the company or a real breakthrough.
4. Harness it as a learning experience.
Any challenge in business can be viewed as a learning experience. Take a look at what happened and see what lessons can be applied from it. Is there a way the company can grow?
Furthermore, consider the timing and be happy that it happened now and not later when the stakes could be higher or it may be harder to get out of the bind.
5. Let it inspire gratefulness.
If everything is going well, a business is just coasting along. When something goes wrong, however, it can shed light on all the things going right. And that itself will refresh an organization’s energy.
In the midst of a challenge, take a minute to appreciate all of the good things about owning a business and use it as motivation to go the extra mile for employees and clients.
Challenges are a daily standard in the business world, but out of setbacks can come opportunities. These trials can cause an organization to pivot in a new direction, change its focus for the better, find a creative solution to a problem or simply appreciate all the things going right.
The key is to look at challenges not as negative occurrences, but as opportunities for growth, which are gifts indeed.