The Perfect Storm of Entrepreneurship
By definition, a perfect storm is “a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors.” This type of situation is latent to the very essence of entrepreneurship because where risk is plentiful, volatility can soon follow.
A small business owner’s perfect storm reveals a serendipitous union of illogical and uncontrollable events that result in the best of times and the worst of times. In other words and for those of you who didn’t appreciate my long words, it all boils down to stuff outside of your control, that depending where they fall means you either win or you lose.
It’s the market volatility, pricing pressures, variations in business performance and demanding stakeholders that aim to get the best of you. Whether you spread capital too thin, underestimate time to market or struggle with expansion and your new role as a leader, the perfect storm experience is inescapable in business. Sorry…it just is.
So instead of sticking your head in the sand when storm clouds brew, as an entrepreneur you will need to develop the necessary fortitude, resilience and perseverance to weather a storm. When the ground rumbles, when the waves swell, and the alarm sounds — resist the temptation to watch the waves come in, otherwise you’ll like one of those funny videos where the news reporter gets hot with a fish.
In fact, you’ll need to learn to swim — because the conditions that give rise to your “storms” may be precisely what you need to galvanise you and your small business into epic success.
How to Survive a Perfect Storm in Small Business
Storms cause destruction, but they also breed creation.
In a literal sense, at “any given moment, there are an estimated 2,000 thunderstorms in progress over Earth’s surface,” according to Learner.org.
If you’ve been in business any length of time, you know that this similar type of chaos can aim to disrupt – from putting out small fires to encountering moments where you question your own resolve, asking yourself “Am I crazy for doing this?”
Entrepreneurs arrive at this place in business because like real storms, you can rarely predict the exact time, location, and intensity of your challenges.
And when everything appears to be spinning out of control, when challenges strike like thunderbolts it is essential to see your way clearly, stay the course and move forward.
The good news is this: we have all survived varying degrees of perfect storms in business. And when you find yourself facing one here are four powerful ways to rise above chaos:
1. Master your mind.
Theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein once suggested that “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” In layman’s terms he meant: Think differently.
This is the first and most important step because we cannot solve new business problems with old information. Mastering your mind requires the acquisition of specific knowledge that is cut to the continuity of your dilemma.
This is not the time for generalists … you need a specialist that can decipher the root issues of your business challenges and deliver an injection of practical ideas, recommendations and insight to cure your pain.
2. Keep moving.
Physics proposes that all energy can be in one of two states: potential or kinetic. Energy can be transferred, stored and waiting to happen (potential) or put to work (kinetic).
Consider this: When you’re riding a roller coaster, potential energy accumulates by the rise in height and is then transferred to kinetic energy as you race down the first slope. Kinetic energy is then converted back into potential energy as you approach the second peak. The worst scenario you can be in at this time is the misplacement of the right type of energy.
We can liken this to your perfect storm in business. Like that roller coaster that has hit its peak, it is time to put your energy to work. As Chinese philosopher, Confucius would say, “It doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you do not stop.”
Instead of being paralised by a lack of capital, increased competition, lack of marketing know-how, hiring issues, and uncertainty take a moment of mental reflection and imagine the future beyond your temporary state. Then develop a new plan of action. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Engage bold solutions.
This is not the time to play small.
If there were ever a time for bold, imaginative, and visionary pursuits – it is now. Small thinking will not solve big business problems. Brainstorm crazy ideas, forget about what other people may think, and realize that “in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity (Sun Tzu).” – The Art of War
4. Let failure teach you.
Small business failure should be your servant – not your master. Failure is painful. Failure is merely a temporary setback that can serve you in practical ways with preparation for the future, assistance in personal development and the delivery of essential business lessons. Remember to “fall seven times, stand up eight (Proverbs 24:16).”