Are you facing business challenges? Are those challenges a gathering storm in the form of lost sleep, increased stress, strain in your personal relationships, struggle to effectively manage day-to-day operations, or financial worries?
And how do you feel about the storms? Do you see them as pain or gain?
If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, nobody needs to tell you there are challenges to running a business. Long hours, cash flow issues, putting in maximum effort and maybe not seeing the results you hoped for, trying to find your next big client, and wearing all the hats are just a few of the challenges you might be facing. And if you’re a business owner who’s had to keep your business going through times of intense personal challenges, then you’ve been deeper in the trenches than most.
As someone who has created two successful businesses in the past 14 years, I can honestly say I’ve felt the pain of all those challenges… and more. I’ve survived my share of challenge storms. And I’ve learned from every one of them. I’ve come to believe (and trust) in the value of the challenges we face, because I know they ultimately help us be better – better at what we do, better in how we see the world around us, and better at understanding the struggles of others.
I came across a quote recently that fits perfectly with the idea of embracing business challenges. I don’t know who said it, but I love the message. It reads, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
What that quote says to me is that, as with so many other things in life, how we view and respond to business challenges makes all the difference. There will always be challenges and storms in business and in life. Some we can control and some we can’t. But we can learn from all of them.
Learning From the Storms
In terms of learning to be better at what we do, business owners can learn a lot from certain challenges. Basically, some of the business challenges we face are the result of something we might be doing that isn’t working for us. It’s always a good idea to take a close look at what’s working and what’s not working when you find yourself in a swirling storm.
Here are some examples of what I mean…
If you feel like you’re putting in tons of effort but not seeing the payoff, you may be focusing on the wrong things. You need to determine which activities are contributing to the bottom line and which aren’t. When you get clear on that, you can focus on the things that will move your business forward.
If you’re working long hours and struggling to find balance between your work and personal life, you may need to change the way you manage your time and handle distractions. Putting systems and processes in place to streamline your time is a great strategy. Delegating or outsourcing tasks is also a great strategy for helping you get more done in less time and with less stress, so you have more time for things and people you love outside of work.
And if you feel like your days often spin out of control or you’re constantly putting out fires and managing emergencies, you should look for a contributing cause or pattern. There are things you can anticipate and things you can’t. But, if you look closely at the types of emergencies you frequently deal with and can identify causes, you could eliminate (or at least minimize) some unnecessary challenge storms. Is there a problem with follow-up or communication? Is there a problem with an employee who hasn’t been properly trained? Are you trying to wear too many hats and things are falling through the cracks? Wherever the problem comes from, there’s most likely a system, process, or habit change that could calm the chaos.
Looking at just those three examples, it’s easy to see how making some relatively small adjustments could change how your business runs dramatically. So, take the time to look at what’s working and what’s not, then make some changes.
Here’s one more thing to consider if you’re going through persistent storms…
Some of the business challenges we face are as much a result of what’s within us (or not within us) as it is what we’re doing on the outside. In my last blog, Are You Personally Empowering Your Business?, I wrote about how taking personal considerations into account while planning for your business can help you avoid some of the ‘normal’ business challenges.
For example, your Natural Productivity Style, natural tendencies, and personality greatly affect your business and the challenges you might face. Your ability to communicate, delegate, lead or work with a team, problem solve, and take decisive action all have an impact. Your mindset around finances and money management can create unnecessary business challenges. And your willingness (or unwillingness) to grow, adapt, and learn new things can play a role in whether you struggle or thrive.
You are the driving force behind your business. If you have a better understanding of who you are as a person, you can identify areas of strength and weakness and come up with a plan that takes both into account.
Finally, if you’ve struggled or are struggling with business challenges right now, just know you’re not alone! Get out there and talk to other business owners and entrepreneurs! Network. Be authentic. Share your experiences and who you are with others. And be an empathetic listener as they share their struggles with you. Who knows, you may even find lifelong friends and allies in the process or be able to use what you’ve learned from your business challenges to help someone else through their struggle.
Owning a business isn’t always easy. Those things in life that push us out of our comfort zones but have the potential to bring great rewards seldom are. The storms of business challenges may cause us to doubt, question, fear, or consider throwing in the towel at times. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it and those storms can make us better if we embrace and value them! It’s all about how we choose to view and respond to challenges… and learning to dance in the rain.
Here’s a great article about surviving in business, if you’d like to read more.
And if you’re ready and want to explore your unique business challenges, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you and help you achieve your success!
Or take this quick survey and tell me about the challenges you’re facing.