There are many reasons that may make you feel like throwing in the towel. Sometimes the market may not be where you want it to be. Other times your product or service may not be where you had intended, so you get anxious or a little unsure. The first thing to understand is that ups and downs are part of the cycle for any business. You have to constantly evolve in order to adjust to changes in the market or its conditions.
There may be instances where a trough in the cycle causes you to wonder if it’s worth it to keep going, or to cut your losses. Things people said before – the words we knew were not true when we were confident – come back into our thoughts, trying to feed the seeds of doubt. This is the time when you have to dig deep. Pushing through problematic times is often a prerequisite for success.
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it
Come on, let’s see what you’ve got
Just take your best shot and don’t blow it
— Styx, “Fooling Yourself”
Sometimes it’s a mental obstacle blocking your path to success. Ask yourself a few questions. Why do you feel like giving up? What were you trying to accomplish in the first place? How did you feel about getting to that place? If you felt you could get to that place, why is it different now?
Sometimes, visualizing where you want to be gives you the extra boost when you are experiencing a sluggish period. Visualize where you can be, see it as it is already yours, and keep pushing until it comes into fruition.
Once you have done some soul-searching, answered the questions above, and visualized where you want to be, do a top-to-bottom evaluation of your company – evaluating your people, processes, and technology in use. Do you have the right people in the right places? Are you utilizing your personnel at optimal capacity? Are you keeping up-to-date with the trends in your area of business? Are your processes running fluid, with fail-safes, backups, and secure networks?
After a careful analysis, you will have a better outlook at where the value lies in your company. There are times when a business started off in one area only to find their niche in an altogether different arena.
“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” Alfred A. Montapert
You are going to face obstacles in business – that’s its nature. When you get up with the attitude of looking forward to facing the challenges, it changes the progression of your day. Instead of when a problem occurs it throwing your mood off-kilter, the expectation of it keeps the flow of your day from interruption and your mood from leaning towards agitation. There are days when one problem after the next will appear, and rather than seeing it as an annoyance, view it as a challenge to master.
“The only constant in life is change.” Heraclitus
Berkshire Hathaway, one of Warren Buffett’s many companies, started in the textile industry. Mr. Buffett had the privilege of acquiring it on the way down. Throughout the years, with careful planning and strategic moves, he was able to turn it into one of the largest and most trusted companies in the world. His saving grace was investing in the insurance industry and transitioning the core of the business away from the flailing American textile industry — a masterful pivot. Determination, ingenuity, and preparation in business go a long way towards gaining success.
My moment came during the recession of 2008. My wife and I have two businesses working out of the same office, and we had more space than needed, which was making cash flow very tight. We were also slow in downsizing staff, which put us in a hole even further! When the recession hit, nobody knew how long that it would last, and it seemed it would never end. My wife and I had to have the “are we going to have to consult a lawyer about bankruptcy because we don’t know how long the recession is going to last” talk.
Instead of folding, we decided to remain persistent. We didn’t break our lease like many people were doing at the time, taking the high road and honoring our commitments. That cost us dearly, but we decided to keep pushing forward. I remember my wife and I sending out our Christmas letter that read, “What’s worse than having one entrepreneur in the family when going through a recession?” “Having TWO entrepreneurs in the family going through a recession!” Have to keep a sense of humor.
It was a rough battle, and yet here we are seven years later and doing well. The course of events even resulted in me pivoting my business into providing new services – helping small to medium-sized business owners and it is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done! When one door closes…another one opens!
Before You Throw in the Towel
Before you call it quits, make sure you’ve viewed all options and alternatives. Maybe you give up what you are doing today and pivot your business. Examine your business top to bottom, check your people, processes, and technology. Find that new strategy, and wake up each day ready to hurdle every obstacle in your path. Keep pushing! Chances are that you’ll find yourself in an even better place than you had expected.
Brian’s Musical Inspiration:
RIFF: “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) was a second radio hit off of Styx’s seventh album, “The Grand Illusion”. Released on July 7, 1977 (7/7/77), it became their breakthrough album, reaching TRIPLE PLATINUM certification (3 Million sold). The first hit off of this album was “Come Sail Away” which reached #8 in 1978.
BAND ON WIKI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styx_%28band%29