men competing in steeplechase

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about what an entrepreneur, and particularly one hoping to be successful, should do when the going gets tough. How do you deal with challenges and bounce back?

When you’re trying to build a fledgling business, and even when you’re trying to grow a more established one, nobody’s journey is free of obstacles and challenges.

Like the school holidays, for example. This is, I suppose, a fairly straightforward challenge, in the grand scheme of things. But it’s a good example.

In our case.

Over the last month, Chloe and I have both been trying to balance childcare responsibilities and various family commitments with keeping our business going. As a result, we have barely seen each other, and our usual daily flurry of WhatsApp messages have been reduced to something of a sporadic trickle.

And I’m not going to deny that it’s been a challenging few weeks.

Communication hasn’t flowed as easily as it normally does and neither of us feel that we have made as much progress as we normally would. Our usual working patterns have become disjointed and motivation has fallen.

So when the going gets tough in your business, and you hit a bump in the road, how do you deal with the challenges and make sure you bounce back?

1. Take time to reflect

If you’re feeling like you’ve lost your momentum, take time to reflect on why this is. Does your lack of motivation just come from a change of routine? Or has something happened in your business that warrants these feelings? Perhaps you’re worried that you haven’t made quite enough sales this month. Or that dream contact you made just hasn’t come through.

Either way, what can you do to change your mindset and get yourself back on track? Perhaps it’s just a question of talking your feelings out and getting a fresh perspective. Or deciding what action you need to take to remedy anything that may have gone awry.

2. Make a plan

When you hit a rough patch, it can be difficult to know where to start to get things back on track. For example, switching from one working pattern to another can be a real challenge. During the holidays I do this multiple times a day as I balance motherhood and running our business. It’s hard to flip a switch, and change how you do things, overnight, or even several times a day. So rather than expect to pick up where you left off, stop for a minute and make a plan. This really helps to you to get your head back in the game, and makes progress much easier.

3. Get your big girl (or boy) pants on

Our natural instinct is to shy away from things that cause us discomfort or anxiety, but when it’s our own business, we simply can’t do that. When things go wrong, we have to step up and take action. We have to make things happen. Learn. And change things for the better. And to do that requires bravery. If you don’t face up to these challenges, how will you ever overcome them?

Learning to deal with challenges is a huge part of being a successful entrepreneur, and anyone starting off down this road needs to be prepared. But if this idea sounds slightly terrifying, fear not! Many of the modules in our programme are designed to give you the tools you need to succeed. For example, module 1 will help you to plan well, and number 4 will give you confidence.

It’s true. In your entrepreneurial journey there will be difficulties. But you will learn to deal with the challenges and come back stronger.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Billy Ocean