Running a business is challenging whatever the performance of your business. However if you encounter major business setbacks running your business can feel extremely daunting and you may not know what to do. Business setbacks can come in many shapes and sizes and may include losing a big customer, production bottlenecks, a key member of staff leaving, cash flow problems, a significant slowdown in sales or a supplier letting you down.
Here are some ideas as to how to deal with a business setback:
Assess the situation and understand the cause. Take time to assess the situation in your business and understand exactly what has happened. Find out what has caused the business setback so that you can learn for the future and decide the best way forward e.g. a key member of staff leaving may be because they felt they were not getting enough responsibility.
Get feedback. Ask all parties for feedback on the situation so that you can widen your understanding of the setback e.g. you may find that a significant slowdown in sales is due to a new competitor you were not aware of.
Stay calm. When you first encounter a business setback it is easy to panic and get very stressed, however this will not help you to move your business forward. It is important to stay calm when faced with a business setback so that you can rationally assess the situation and decide what to do about it.
Remind yourself of your goals, your achievements and why you started your business. A business setback can make you question the future of your business. Remind yourself of your goals for your business, what you have achieved in your business and why you went into business originally.
Put the setback into perspective. Look at all the areas that are going well in your business and how your business has been progressing. Put the setback into perspective against your business as a whole e.g. you may have lost a major customer but you have another five major customers and some good enquiries too.
Consider what you can do to overcome the setback. Take time out either on your own or with others to brainstorm the situation. Look at all the potential options for moving the business forward to where you want it to be and decide on what you actually need to do. You may need to amend some of your existing plans due to the setback and refocus.
Make a plan. Once you have decided what you need to do, make a plan with timescales to move the business forward from the setback. Break the overall plan down into smaller manageable steps.
Take action and be decisive. When faced with a setback it is easy to procrastinate and become indecisive. However to move forward you will need to be decisive and take action. Start with small decisions and actions and then move onto the bigger ones.
Review progress. Regularly review how you are progressing with your plan and how the business is moving forward e.g. You may not solve your production bottlenecks immediately but a change in processes may result in short term improvements and an investment in new equipment may result in bigger gains.
Take advice and get support. You may want advice and support from someone outside your business to help and support you with the business setback. Often talking to someone outside the day to day of your business can give you a new perspective and fresh ideas.
Hopefully these ideas will help you decide how to handle any business setbacks that you may have in your business and enable you to move your business forward positively.
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