5 Ways to Build Grit in Times of Uncertainty While Growing Your Business Faster Than Others Perseverance and grit are essential traits for any entrepreneur. By nurturing grit, you will become a better leader, grow your business faster and outperform your competitors.

By Roland Polzin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

From the time we are children, grit is an indicator of the success we'll achieve as adults. Having grit is not about simply being tough or brave; instead, grit is about having the courage and passion to persist in the face of obstacles.

Whether it's refusing to give up on a demanding school project as a kid or thinking up creative solutions to a cash crunch as a business owner, grit is an essential tool in challenging times. In periods of economic volatility, having grit can help business owners make the tough decisions that determine — and accelerate — their success. Here are five ways to build grittiness into your business:

1. Invest in your continuous growth

A recent survey of North American SMBs by fintech startup Brightflow AI and market research agency Bredin found that fast-growing companies don't shy away from uncertainty in times of economic volatility. Instead, they face challenges head-on and invest in their future. Fast growers outpaced investment by other companies during the past year by:

  • Investing in new technology: 53% of fast growers, compared with 39% of slow-growth organizations, invested in new technology that aided their growth.
  • Innovating to create new products: 51% of fast growers versus 34% of slow-growth organizations made strategic investments to expand or diversify their offerings.

Related: You Don't Need 'It.' You Need 'G.R.I.T.'

2. Make tough decisions for the sake of improvement

Businesses are often forced to pivot to overcome obstacles in challenging economic times. Especially adept business owners may leverage these challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth.

The survey's fast-growing companies report executing strategic reductions across key domains to use resources best.

  • 51% of fast growers who made inventory changes in the past 12 months acted boldly to eliminate some items completely. The result was a more profitable overall product mix.
  • Fast growers that cut ad spending did so by 42% — a 25% larger reduction than slow growers. Making a bolder cut to ad spending yielded more dramatic results for fast-growing organizations.

The result: Roughly six in ten fast growers reported increased company profitability after inventory and ad spending cuts.

Related: What is Grit, and Why Does It Matter When Hiring for Your Startup?

3. Maintain confidence in the face of uncertainty

In a recent PwC Pulse Survey of U.S. executives, 90% of respondents admitted being concerned (over half were "very concerned") about the macroeconomic conditions of the next six months. Rather than helplessly worry, these U.S. executives are making strategic moves to address these concerns that reflect a bias toward grit.

  • Nearly half say they are hiring in specific areas to drive growth, and only 26% are planning to reduce the number of full-time employees.
  • Perhaps most notably, "more than three quarters (77%) are mostly or completely confident that they can achieve near-term growth goals." Regardless of the level of uncertainty in your situation, confidence is a true sign of grit.

4. Create a strong hierarchy of your goals

In a feature on organizational grit, Harvard Business Review found companies with "a strong sense of priorities and purpose" were more gritty and resilient than their less goal-oriented counterparts. Less gritty organizations, meanwhile, had goals that were poorly defined, less meaningful and often conflicted with other goals.

  • HBR recommends having a broad and essential goal at the top of your goal hierarchy to give meaning to everything you set out to achieve in your specific, lower-level goals.
  • While prioritization is important, aligning your priorities across the entire organization is critical. Gritty organizations don't let their hard-working people set off to achieve their objectives; instead, they harness that collective passion and ensure it's channeled toward a more significant, singular purpose.

Related: Want to Be a Growth-Hacker? You Need to Read These Growth-Hacking Business Books.

5. Get creative to overcome challenges

Perseverance doesn't mean going into battle alone. It means thinking creatively and utilizing all the weapons in your arsenal to fight your way through the challenges.

  • Use any data you can get your hands on to make informed decisions about challenges that arise. For example, fast growers in the Brightflow AI SMB survey were 64% more likely to report that they have the data they need to create their forecasts than their slow-growth counterparts. The PwC survey also recommends minimizing risk with tools that can "accurately gather data, track metrics, and report performance."
  • When the data you need isn't available, seek guidance from a trusted advisor with a similarly gritty mindset. Learn how they overcame obstacles in their past. Get diverse perspectives on your problems, or at least think about them from someone else's point of view, to unlock new solutions.


Businesses aren't successful because they have it easy. Business owners with grit understand that delays and difficulties pave the road to success. When an easier path presents itself, those with grit stay the course and persist despite even the toughest of business challenges.

Wavy Line
Roland Polzin

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Co-Founder & CMO

As a former German Army officer, I made the unusual decision to become a tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. My background provides me with a unique perspective on leadership, decision-making, and change management, and I hope to help others drive change and progress for the better.

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