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6 Ways You Can Stay Focused, Driven and Positive When Your Business Is on the Ropes

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If your business is currently experiencing a downturn, the number one thing to remember is: Don’t panic. Look at the history of many businesses, and you’ll see a series of peaks and valleys. Slow periods, stagnant growth, inefficiencies, and even scandals have plagued many business owners.

While it’s important to address the issues bogging down your business, know that a downturn isn’t a death knell for your venture. While it’s easy to say you should stay positive, the ability to maintain that positive attitude is another story.

Rather than worrying or getting caught in a cycle of negativity, here are six tips for how to stay focused, driven, and positive:

1. Meet with your mentor

When your business is going through a tough time, there aren’t many people you can turn to who understand your plight. One notable exception is other business owners who have seen it all. That’s just one of the benefits of having a mentor.

Mentoring is invaluable to small business owners. A survey conducted by UPS says that the success rate of businesses with a mentor after five years is double that of those without a mentor. According to the national nonprofit SCORE, small business owners who receive 3+ hours of mentoring report both higher revenues and increased growth.

A mentor might be able to help you find a solution to your issue or connect you with someone who can. Most importantly, they’ll act as a sounding board and provide accountability in a way that non-business owners simply can’t.

2. Don’t burn yourself out working harder

One of the most common pitfalls for small business owners is failing to give themselves an adequate work-life balance. It only becomes more difficult to maintain that balance when business is slow. Some people think that the answer to flagging sales is to redouble their efforts in an attempt to right the ship.

If things were going well before the downturn, your issue isn’t one of effort. Working twice as many hours won’t suddenly produce twice the profits.

For example, not getting enough sleep (4-6 hours a night, as opposed to the recommended 7-9 per night) produces cognitive performance deficits, meaning you’re more likely to make mistakes while you work. On the other hand, research shows that people who are “more engaged in creative activity often scored 15 to 30 percent higher on performance rankings than those who were less engaged.”

The takeaway: Having hobbies and getting sleep—rather than burning the candle on both ends—makes you better at your job. Keep in mind that entrepreneurs are generally more prone than employees to feeling stressed, worried and depressed, and are more likely to experience addiction and mental health disorders. Take care of yourself, or no one will be able to take care of your business.

“The land of burnout is not a place I ever want to go back to.” – Arianna Huffington

3. Don’t sacrifice your quality

When sales are slumping, it’s tempting to switch up your business model in a way that sacrifices long-term goals for short-term happiness. Typically, this means discounting the prices of your products and services—and, subsequently, often lowering the quality in order to keep your share of the profits. However, aggressive discounting isn’t the way to build a loyal customer base.

An analysis by Price Intelligently showed that deep discounts led to a 30% drop in the lifetime value of a customer. That’s because slashing prices makes customers less likely to agree to pay the full amount for your product once you raise it again, increasing your churn rate and forcing you to spend more on acquiring new customers.

Stick to your business plan, or consider making alterations that reflect the realities you’ve come up against. Simply slashing prices to get in people’s good graces isn’t a tactic—it’s a race to the bottom.

4. Look into a form of flexible financing

Cash flow management is a frequent hazard for small business owners. When business is slow, your vendors and creditors still need to get paid—and failing to pay up when required is what tends to sink a business.

Give yourself a little breathing room by looking into flexible forms of financing. Revolving forms of credit, such as lines of credit or business credit cards, are excellent lifelines to have in your back pocket when unexpected expenses arise, or when you need a little extra time to square up a bill before an invoice you’re owed pays off.

Qualifying for financing isn’t always a given, but if you are eligible, having these financial tools at your disposal helps you stay in control of your cash flow.

5. Shift your focus to what you’ve been neglecting

When business is slow, look for the silver lining: Now you have time to work on the projects you typically don’t have time for. Whether it’s consolidating workflows, writing blog posts, networking, or any other tasks you let fall by the wayside, you can now direct your efforts towards addressing them.

When business picks back up again, you’ll be glad you had time to perform tasks that would otherwise continue to bog you down.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

6. Pivot towards a new direction

There are a number of reasons why your business might be slowing down. If you’ve identified an opportunity to pivot your company in a new direction as a result of this downturn, that’s a good thing. There’s no better time to consider the logistics of a pivot than when you’re not as distracted by the everyday bustle of the busy season.

Remember, a pivot—as famously described by entrepreneur Eric Ries—isn’t jumping to a new vision entirely. It’s keeping one foot grounded in what you’ve already validated, while applying those lessons in a new way.

You might pivot to a new set of customers, or to solving a different problem for the same customers you’ve been serving. You might pivot by spinning out one feature of your services into its own product, or adding more features to what you offer.

Making this change can be time- and resource-consuming, which is why you’ll once again appreciate the silver lining of a downturn. Now you can focus on what you can do better, rather than thinking of it as what you’ve done wrong.

Staying positive when your business is on the ropes is always easier said than done. As we’ve seen, however, these moments are actually excellent opportunities for improvement, growth, and strengthening your own resolve. Entrepreneurship is always bound to have its ups and downs—it’s how you respond to those changes that will dictate the level of your success.  

How do you stay positive in times of negativity? Share your thoughts with us below!

Eric Goldschein is the partnerships editor at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in History and English writing. Eric has nearly a decade of experience in digital media and writes extensively on marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and small business trends.

Life

A Simple but Effective Technique to Be More Confident

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Many people want to learn how to be confident in different situations, but it’s not always easy. Maybe we’re too addicted to comparing ourselves or maybe social media has brainwashed us to believe that we should all be rich, famous, and in incredible shape. (more…)

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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