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Grow Your Small Business, Part 4: Overcoming Obstacles

Published on May 25, 2011


Read 'Grow Your Small Business, Part 4: Overcoming Obstacles' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Steps Image - iStock_000015953523Small Imagine for a moment that you’re a world-class athlete who’s qualified for the Olympic Hurdles event. The race is moments away, and you’ve done everything you can to prepare. The start gun sounds, and you’re off. As you approach the first hurdle, what do you do? Do you wait for somebody to move it so you can pass? Do you give up and walk away? Of course not — you jump the hurdle. You also know there are more to come. On occasion, obstacles arise that get in the way of accomplishing our goals. Sometimes they’re external, but they can also come from within. If we can accept them as part of the process, and expect that they’ll occasionally occur, then they won’t loom so large. Like the Olympic athlete, preparation is the key. But the question is, how do we prepare for obstacles before they arise? Let’s examine a handful of “problem busters,” that can help us do just that … Learn to Respond Instead of Reacting When an obstacle rears its head, business owners (as well as people in general) are often quick to react. The problem is that a knee-jerk reaction can be based in emotion. And, it doesn’t allow us any time to examine the problem to find out why it occurred in the first place. When we react to an obstacle, it’s in control — not us. Responding is a more effective way to deal with a problem. It puts us in control, and gives us time to think about solutions, and how to avoid the problem in the future. As we build solid solutions, we’re actually improving our business! We’ve turned an obstacle into an opportunity to improve and grow. Positive Input We need to consistently nourish our minds, and the minds of our employees if we’re a business owner, with positive influences. Whether it’s bringing in a motivational speaker, reading an inspiring book or listening to audio programs that help us improve ourselves — the more positive input we receive, the more positive we will be. And when we’re positive minded, we’re much more likely to see solutions to problems because our perception of the situation will be totally different. Think of a positive thought as something that lifts you up and gives you a better view, while a negative thought weighs you down to the ground. Even something as simple as e-mailing everyone a joke-of-the-day can transform an office. Have a Flexible Plan Sometimes plans need adjusting. Remaining flexible while staying focused on our goals keeps us moving in the right direction even in the face of obstacles. If you were driving somewhere and one of your tires went flat, what would you do? Yell at the tire for messing up your plans and do nothing? Well, you might be tempted to yell at the tire, but the point is that you’re not just going to forget about your destination. You would put on the spare tire, call a cab or walk. In other words, you’d be flexible in how you reached your destination. Long-term Vision Taking the long view on where we want to guide your business makes the occasional flat tire less devastating. In the first three parts of this series we discussed how to do this by discovering, defining and setting our goals. Developing long-term goals helps keep us on track and focused. Feel free to share any comments or stories about obstacles your business has overcome. May your business always experience abundance, growth and prosperity … Related Links - What Are Your Goals? - Personal Goals - How to Quantify Your Goals