It isn't always smooth sailing when you are building a business! As an entrepreneur is building their business, there will be challenges, and times when you feel you need to make adjustments. This is a NORMAL part of the process! Very rarely do we hit the destination without a few bumps in the road along the way.
Reaching your business goals is somewhat like sailing....it's important to be able to adjust the sail when necessary in order to stay on course and reach the destination. Challenges can be compared to the wind blowing you off course. When you are sailing, it is actually the wind that you embrace to push you towards your destination....the key is to work with the wind (the challenge) to get you there.
Although it's important to have a plan to follow, successful people do not need every single detail to be known in advance, and have learned to be flexible when necessary. There will be times you set out in a specific direction, however, new things come up you may not have foreseen, or new information becomes available. It's important to know when to implement changes to get back on track. This can be compared to detours on a road when you are driving towards a destination. Sometimes you have to turn down a road that takes you around the construction. In sailing, sometimes the wind is blowing you off course and you have to adjust the sail to compensate.....you catch the wind and let it push you in the direction you want to go. These things are just part of the process. You may not have expected the detour, or the winds, however, it's there and you have to deal with it. So follow the new route, go around, make adjustments and get back on track.
Most important is to be solution oriented. One of the reasons that people fail in business is they are not solution oriented and able to overcome challenges that come along. Challenges become stop signs for these individuals. Instead of looking at challenges as a stop sign, ask yourself questions:
-How can you find a solution to get around this?
-What haven't you done?
-Who could you get advice from?
-What else can you do?
Let's take an example. You have a retail shop in a tourist town. You open at the beginning of the season, the tourists keep your shop humming. But then in the off season, you find sales are dramatically down, bills are high, and you are in the hole each month. First, why are you surprised? If walk in traffic dramatically decreases at the end of the tourist season, you should have been thinking ahead on a plan of action to compensate. It is not too late, though, as long as you are willing to make adjustments, innovate and test new things. So ask yourself, what are you going to do about it? This is where a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs fail, however, this is THE exciting part of being an entrepreneur! This is where YOU can actually DO something about it! Realize that when you work for an employer and this happens, you have no control, and you would be laid off or downsized. When you are self employed, it is up to you to create the business solutions. So ask yourself the questions above.
Cash flow may be low or non existent. What are you gong to do about it? Ask yourself those questions.
What are you going to do to appeal to your local clients? Have you thought about this market or have you been caught up with the tourists?
It's easy to do business when things are flowing easily, clients are coming into your shop, and purchases are being made. Get creative and innovative when things are slower. you could offer a "local's loyalty program". Reach out to the local market and become your local's favorite place to do business. For instance, a restaurant could offer different specials, Monday through Friday throughout the non tourist months.
How about doing business globally? Is it possible to ship your products to people around the world? How can social media and all the technology options allow you to get the message out to create new clients? Are people likely to be repeat clients? How can you generate future business from those tourists that already loved the experience of buying from you? Could you offer a mail order or online special? ASK yourself questions!!!! This allows the creative side of your brain to get to work finding solutions that don't seem obvious, but could be the stepping stones to exploding your business in a direction you hadn't thought of.
The key is to have the attitude "failure is NOT an option". Be solution oriented. Think outside the box. Be willing to innovate, create and implement new ideas and don't just sit around waiting for people to come to you. It is your responsibility to do what it takes to make your business work. Remember, it rarely goes exactly as planned....it is often in the challenges that we have the biggest breakthrough ideas that take the business to a level of success that you never imagined!
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader