Businesses of all types and sizes are faced with new challenges. Not only do they have to worry about their bottom lines, keep up with competitors and satisfy customers or clients, they have to navigate through the unchartered waters of a pandemic.
Here’s some unconventional but creative advice provided by James Webb, the author of “Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity.” His career in radiology saw him rise from a technologist to becoming a leader in the industry as the entrepreneur of several companies.
“ ‘Pivot’ has become the preferred word among business owners while trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic,” Webb said in a news release. “For many companies now, it’s pivot-or-die.”
Webb boiled down his advice in the following column, “5 Tips To Make Entrepreneurs Resilient When Challenges Threaten Their Business.” Businesses here in Douglas County may find some of the insights useful.
Hope for the upside, but plan for the downside. “In business, it’s easy to let a vision of great things ahead trick you into ignoring the real possibility of failure,” Webb says. “Every entrepreneur does it. Every great business has more than one plan. COVID has weeded out those businesses that never planned for the downside.”
Let go when your gut tells you to. Webb says that today’s business world moves too fast and leaves too many behind for a struggling entrepreneur to stay stuck in their ineffective ways for long. “You have to trust your instincts and learn when to step away, and to find another path,” Webb says. “Rather than beat your head against a stone wall, find a way around, over, or under that wall, and continue on the new path of your choosing.”
Dive in the deep end – even if you’re not fully ready. Webb has met many people in business and in life who trust the philosophy that your next move should be the one for which you’re already prepared. He disagrees. “Pursue your next path regardless of your level of preparation,” he says. “Be decisive. Be confident in the fact that if you’re smart and focused, you’ll learn faster when you’re in over your head or out of your depth.”
Learn the powers of contingency management. Entrepreneurs sometimes get overwhelmed by adversity because they are too controlling by nature, Webb says. Empowering people as a regular practice and overseeing a collaborative work culture leads to calm and problem-solving when difficulties surface. “Manage the situation, but don’t rule it,” Webb says. “Care for your people, but don’t set them up for failure by micromanaging them. Hold them accountable but don’t be a dictator. Being resilient as a company and pivoting the right way can only happen if there is mutual trust and a comfort level between the business owner and his workforce.”
See every closing door as a new one opening. Webb says when things aren’t working as they once did, entrepreneurs need a mindset that embraces a challenge and is excited by finding a new way to make things better. ”I have found that the most important lessons in life are the ones you don’t see coming,” he says, “and they bring opportunities you hadn’t considered. When a new opportunity presents itself as a better way, take the risk.”
His final take away: “Resilience doesn’t just get back up,” Webb says. “Resilience finds a way.”