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  • Writer's pictureKevin Ward

Retaining Entrepreneurial Spirit through Uncertain Times

This is a reprint of an article published in the Suffolk Director magazine, spring/summer 2019.

People talk a lot about being enterprising or entrepreneurial, but what does that really mean when you’re in business?

Is it simply someone who shows some initiative by taking a risk setting up, investing in and running a business. Or is it tied more closely to resilience and using your confidence, positivity and leadership skills to bounce back from the daily grind; a knockback on a sale, losing a key member of staff, or the worst of all scenarios running out of coffee!

I would argue it’s all the above and like many things in life, it’s relative.

However, with the challenges and uncertainty facing businesses currently, people would argue that daily, they are having to display enterprising behaviours such as creative problem solving and using their judgement to take calculated risks. And all of these bring with them high levels of stress; whether good or bad.

So, what can you do to make sure you keep in the driving seat?

First, you need to find how to deal with the stress, whether it’s big or small. This differs for everyone and could be exercise, meditation or sharing the problems with others. You may wish to think about the issue or crack on with a hands-on approach to gaining improvements or solutions. None of these approaches is wrong, apart possibly from one common approach that we often see, not facing up to the issues properly and/or trying to deal with them on your own.

We can all bounce back from the odd problem, with some better able than others to push through the issues they face. However, at some point, even the best entrepreneur will run out of energy, either mentally or physically, and if there’s no contingency in place, things may go wrong in such a way that there is no bouncing back.

So, if what I’m describing sounds familiar to you, then:

• Be proactive:

Take a positive approach and look for help and support.

• Share the challenges and issues:

It will help you to dig deep and you will be better placed to help find solutions.

• Create several plans:

Many succeed because they not only have a plan A, but also a plan B, C and D. If one starts to fail, they instantly revert to the next.

• Communicate and delegate:

Surround yourself with experts and spread the load.

Whether we’re dealing with companies in distress, or that are growing, we always encourage the management to interact with the employees for ideas. Some of the best solutions which have often allowed a company to bounce back from the brink have come from inside the business.

So, think about what setbacks you may encounter in your business and consider different solutions. If you lose a member of staff, have a talent list of potential new employees. Develop a strong pipeline of sales and don’t be reliant on a small number of opportunities, and above all keep some spare coffee in the cupboard!


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