BY Chris Snook
Start-up businesses are not easy to get running, and they are even more difficult to sustain. Along the way, you will encounter hurdles which you must be able to overcome. Below are ten helpful suggestions to propel you past obstacles when success seems unattainable.
Ignorance is bliss.
No one starting a business can predict every obstacle that they’ll be faced with; not Zuckerberg, not Gates, not Trump: no one. When faced with unexpected delays, remember the attitude you had when you started your endeavor. You were cautious enough to make smart decisions, but confident enough to trust your intuition. Naiveté is not necessarily a bad thing when starting a business because it allows us to make mistakes and learn from them, rather than not try at all. Inertia is your friend.
It is almost as guaranteed as gravity that you will get knocked down at some point when starting a business.
From the ground, you have two options: get up or give up. Use your initial passion and enthusiasm as a helping hand to pick you up. Most endeavors won’t start out perfectly, so think of the imperfections as opportunities to change and get better. Remember that getting up is like all habits…hard to break once you get used to choosing it!
Be ready to spend more time/money than you planned.
No matter how conservative your estimates may seem, you should be prepared to exceed them. Be prepared to work longer for success, even if you feel that it’s due immediately. Delay gratification and continue to grind it out, because here’s a fact: in the end, no matter how much work you put into a venture, it simply may not take flight like you expected. Determination might not ultimately yield a successful business, but quitting most assuredly will not, either.
Partners don’t typically work out.
At some point during your venture, you may seek help from a partner – but typically, a joint project doesn’t work from the beginning. In order to see your idea blossom into a business, you must be in control. It may be necessary and beneficial at some point to reach out to someone else, but initially, your personality and identity must influence your idea.
You can feel successful even when you’re failing.
Failure along the way may be unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to kill the whole process. You can still feel and be successful, even when you are temporarily failing. The journey is often more valuable, in retrospect, than the target destination. Anyone can learn from his success, but someone truly invested in his idea will learn much more from his failures. Don’t let one mistake or failure along the way turn into two by giving up – instead, use it as a learning opportunity. The destination is the reward or consequence of your multitude of decisions, but playing the game is what makes it fun!
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
In business and life, you will be faced with decisions around every corner. No matter the situation, focus on making the right decision. When your business and/or personal world is crumbling around you, there are no fun choices, and distracting yourself is impossible, so the only way through hell is to keep moving forward. Remember that you can always make a new choice, and that even when you’re picking between the lesser of two evils, you can still make forward progress.
Tough decisions make you a better businessperson.
Decision-making in a crisis of any kind is what separates the sustainable leader from the rest. You don’t have to go bankrupt to hone this skill, but all of us will face crisis over and over in building our empires. You learn that each circumstance presents you with a new set of decisions to make, which can keep you calm in the path of a tornado. It is the consequence of each decision that leads you to your ultimate goal.
Find a confidant.
Like I said earlier, partners aren’t exactly necessary in starting a business; however, having a confidant, mentor, or someone to vent to can help you keep your sanity throughout the process. Don’t let the psychological aspect of creating a brand or business hinder you – calm your storm by finding an outlet to relieve stress.
Invest in your confidant.
Any entrepreneur will be invested in his or her own venture.
The trick is to have someone else who can see the goal, even if it doesn’t benefit him or her. In my case, my wife, Brianne, is the most incredible source of support because she has been the co-pilot through many turbulent storms without fail. It’s one thing not to quit when it’s your passion and your idea, but to not quit when you’re not in control of the wheel is a whole different level of perseverance. It’s true that every great leader has a support structure behind them that never gets the credit it deserves.
Leave your comfort zone.
We all have a comfort zone, and no matter how much we push ourselves to grow outside of our current limits, we are most comfortable inside of it. The problem with this is that no new opportunity exists inside of our current comfort zone. It’s a bubble filled with everything we are accustomed to, yet the many great opportunities that lie outside are unattainable. Get out of your own way, break through your zone, and accept the idea (even fall in love with the idea!) that we must become comfortable being uncomfortable.