Are you under pressure right now? Well, if you are a small business owner – in whichever part of the world you are – the answer would unanimously be “YES.” With the uncertainty in the economic situation, Government regulations, market outlook… not mentioning the internal issues you may have, such as trust issues, “poisonous” workplace dynamics, internal thefts, poor service/management, and so on… it’s only normal when you feel overwhelmed at times.
When I ask small business owners, “Is this (your business) what you want to do?” the answers are typically similar: “Yes, but…” All in all, we love doing our business; however, the often-unfavourable regulations, the constant and often-rapid changes in demand, and business managerial issues constantly put us under pressure. Some of us even don’t break even, living from our savings.
If you are a small business owner under pressure and have been thinking that you can’t stand it anymore, well, stop thinking about that for a while and start reading these positive sides of being under pressure…
1. You are forced to transform your business
I understand the feeling; I am doing this business of web publishing and building for years, yet it was okay until last year. Why what work in the past won’t work again today?
There are some force majeure, such as changes in customer demands, changes in the competition landscape, and so on, but there’s one thing that cause the changes, big time – so big, that you need to respond, or else: Your competitors are getting better in doing things, and your target market is now full of such competitors.
In my opinion, there is no such thing as a market with no competition. Why? Because, sooner or later, some budding entrepreneurs will try to enter your market and grab their portion of the market pie.
When things change, you need to transform the way you do business in order to adapt to the changes. Even if your small biz is a mom-and-pop store, you need to somehow adopt new tactics to attract new customers while preserving the authentic experience of a mom-and-pop store.
Being under pressure will actually help you to make it happen.
2. You are forced to hone your skills
Things change. Small business owners are now expected to be multi-faceted and multi-talented; they should be social-media-savvy, as well as industry-savvy. As a small business owner myself, what I can do best is to react to the trends by better-equip myself for growing my business. As a web publisher/builder, I was able to build websites; now I am able to blog, promote, pitch for partnership, build traffic, build links, and so on.
You should learn to manage your business better; you should learn on how to use the many-medium in promoting your business – is your competitor on Pinterest? You should head to Pinterest, too… the trend says that your business should have a blog – you should consider starting one, too.
3. You are forced to focus on what’s important
When you are in difficult situation, you are forced to make a choice to focus on what’s important and just “eliminate” the rest. This holds true for both personal and business life.
Some small biz owners I know need to make a difficult decision of downsizing half of their employees; it’s a tough decision to take but it’s a must-do.
4. You are forced to find better opportunities
There are times you will be pressured to close down your business.
If you have considered every option and the only logical way to solve the deadlock is by closing down your business, then do so – in the right way. There is no point hanging on to a business with no future. Perhaps it’s time to move on – the sooner, the better.
Before you do close down your business, be sure you learn some lessons from your failure, then try to find other business opportunities.
I started my online business when my stores (franchise, UPS-like) were going downhill. When my online business generates decent income for me, I close down my failing franchise units to cut further losses.
Remember, closing down doesn’t mean it’s the end of your world or you are giving up. It could very well be the beginning of something big.
5. You are being prepared for the next level
I always think of failures in this way: When you are failing, then you are not ready. There are some lessons (life and business) you need to learn , and once you ‘master’ those lessons, you will eventually go up to the next level.
Please note, in many entrepreneurs’ journey, you are ‘leveling-up’ from failure to failure. When you are leveling up, you might encounter another failure; then you learn from it; then again; then again… rinse and repeat.
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
I failed many, many times, but when I approach the failures in the right way, I discover better business opportunities along the way; things seem to be easier once you are ready.
Want success? Again, always be ready to rinse and repeat the process of jumping from failure to failure. Just make sure that you learn something from your failures, will ya?
I will end this blog post with a great quote by Criss Jami, an American poet:
“The pressure of adversity is the most powerful sustainer of accountability. It’s as though everything you do is multiplied by 50 in order to surpass those with a head-start. I was never capable of slacking when at the threshold of failure.”