Unanticipated obstacles will dominate the majority of your workdays as an entrepreneur. It could be something significant, such as a long-term employee’s decision to resign or the emergence of a new competitor in your area, or it could be something minor, such as a deadline that is being extended owing to technological difficulties. One of the most crucial and tough aspects of becoming an entrepreneur is learning to meet and overcome these obstacles without losing your cool or compromising your long-term objectives.
1. Do a damage report.
Your initial task is to assess the significance of the unanticipated obstacle by examining its position in your current startup state and its degree of impact. You may call this a damage report. Regardless of what you choose to call it, the purpose of this step is to comprehend the extent of the new circumstances, which will guide your next course of action, educate your decision-making, and perhaps help you remain calm when presented with it the first time.
For instance, your lead programmer may have just advised you that the team requires one more day before commencing the promised development for your largest client. Before attempting to rush together a plan or worrying unnecessarily, evaluate how this affects your business. Start with simple inquiries and progress to more complex ones. How long will the actual delay in the project last? Is Will being a day late destroy the project? How will your customer respond to the news? How vital is the customer to your profitability?
2. Control your emotional response.
Regardless of the outcomes of your damage report, you will need to maintain emotional control; however, if the answers to the preceding questions are frightening, this may be very difficult. To generate an effective, logical response to the new situation, you must maintain a steady, almost stoic, neutral condition.
Negative self-talk can be a huge issue in this situation. Thoughts such as “This is terrible” or “I can’t believe this happened” are easily ensnaring, yet they lead to frantic thinking and biased perspectives on the event. Instead, take deep breaths, concentrate on the objective aspects of the circumstance, and attempt to separate yourself from the issue.
3. Prioritize long-term objectives.
Recall all of your long-term objectives and abandon short-term thinking. This will help you successfully prioritize your requirements to address the present scenario and objectively separate yourself from the problem.
Suppose, for instance, that your marketing director abruptly resigned a week before the launch of your company’s most extensive advertising campaign of the year. Is it still possible to reach your campaign’s launch objective? If not, what steps are necessary to guarantee this objective is met? Are you on track to meet your marketing objectives for the remainder of the year? Again, what would be required to guarantee that these objectives are met if this is not the case?
Consider your long-term objectives rather than your short-term concerns, such as working more hours or not having an authoritative voice in meetings.
4. Communicate the difficulty with clarity.
Once you have a thorough understanding of the situation, you should begin articulating it to those around you. Inform your marketing team of the director’s resignation and that the next several weeks will be hard. Inform your client that you will miss the deadline and that a solution is being developed.
The more direct, straightforward, and transparent you are, the simpler it will be for others to accept the news. People will be more able to assist you in finding a solution the more composed, informed, and objective you are. This also prevents the troublesome occurrence of an interested person learning about an issue too late to take action.
5. Collaborate on a solution or reach an agreement.
This is the most crucial stage, but it will only be successful if you’ve completed all the preceding steps. With the remaining stages, all parties can discuss the issue in an informed, calm, and mutually beneficial manner. If possible, collaborate with others to identify a solution that will allow you to maintain all of your long-term objectives. Otherwise, you will be on your own. Consider two or three distinct courses of action, then choose the one with the greatest number of benefits.
Apply the previous five steps to the unexpected or unanticipated difficulty in your startup. You should have no trouble reducing its negative consequences and devising a strategy to overcome any new obstacles it presents.