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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

Here’s Why Productivity Hacks Don’t Work

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How many times have you eagerly tried out a new productivity hack or tool and not gotten the result you expected? There is wealth of information available to us giving us everything we need to know to increase our productivity, but most people live their life in chaos.  Why do still see so many people struggling to manage their time and simply not able to get the results they desire?  What is missing? (more…)

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Life

4 Lies You Keep Telling Yourself When You’re Afraid to Do Something

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When’s the last time you let fear get the better of you? Whether we want to admit it or not, fear keeps us from doing a lot of the things we know we really should do to achieve our goals. Fear is especially detrimental to entrepreneurs (read ‘wantrepreneurs’) that want to launch their first big project. (more…)

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Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Create Your Curiosity

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Curiosity is a great characteristic that people rarely sustain in their lifetimes. Some people struggle to sustain curiosity because of their internal and external challenges. They cannot encourage curiosity to come to the fore as they condition their mindsets with their learning, experience, and environment. However, there are very few individuals who sustain their curiosity levels throughout their lives to excel as extraordinary achievers.  (more…)

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Life

5 Life Tips You Didn’t Know You Needed to Hear

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Life is a battleground, we need to keep fighting until our appointed time on earth comes. So, in this post, you will see the best of the best life tips you have never heard before. These tips are life-changing and can change you immediately. Let’s go!

1. Be independent 

Hundreds of millions of people make this mistake. We depend on people like us. “he will get it done for me, she will get it done for me”. You rely heavily on people and guess what, you are making a big mistake. 

There are a lot of people that have helped others and perhaps time changes for them, they become poor and rely on the people they have helped, guess what comes out at the end of this reliance? Disappointment, promises backed by failures, etc. 

Who are you depending on? Who is that person you can’t do without when getting things in your life done? If there is anyone, you are making a big mistake. And starting today, all you have to do is add a prefix – what if!

What if my friend stops helping me, what if I get disappointed by people I trust with my life, what if they neglect me and turn me down”.

A man or woman that depends on people like him is equal to a feeble pillar holding the four corners of a house. What happens when the feeble pillar falls? The man’s house falls down super-flat. Your trust should only be in Jesus. Man can fail us at any time but God is always faithful till his Kingdom comes. 

2. Love your neighbor as yourself 

The gravity of this word is enough to shatter the whole earth into pieces. 

Only if the whole world just kept this simple commandment Christ Jesus gave then, there will be no murders, poverty, greediness, anger, envy, betrayal, disappointment, etc. 

Why are there such things in the world? Because we hate ourselves. As long as you are fine all is well. You care about yourself only, selfish, you have and yet you cannot give. 

Those are the characteristics of over 90% of the 7.6 billion humans on earth. Why can’t you do to others what you would have them do to you? Why can’t you help that suffering neighbor who needs food? Then, a lot of people will say 

“Go away from here beggar, what did you do with your youth, I can’t give you a dime, beggar”. Why are we so cruel? This is the best tip you must dear to your heart. 

No matter what you have, no matter how little or in whatever way you can help. Help people, show them love, love them as you love yourself. Don’t forget this, today’s beggar, uneducated, debtor, poor person, etc can later become the greatest person in the world tomorrow. 

“Don’t settle for what life gives you; make life better and build something.” — Ashton Kutcher

3. Have a growth mindset

A growth mindset is what makes one successful and go far in life. However, a fixed and stagnated mindset throws one into jeopardy of life.

A lot of people have a fixed mindset, what they believe is what they believe, nothing you say on earth can change their mindset, they are the most educated in the world so they don’t need to learn any further. Did you have a fixed or growth mindset?

A growth mindset leads to success, achievements, happiness, learning more, and becoming better. On the other hand, a fixed mindset leads to complacency, pride, lack of achievement, ignorance, the stagnancy of the mind, etc. 

Let’s see an example of someone with a fixed mindset:

Cait tells Alice: Alice stop being so proud it’s annoying. 

And Alice responds:

“How dare you say I am proud, I am not. I am the most humble woman on earth”. In the example, Alice with a fixed mindset has a fixed mindset. However, what she does not know is that she is in the darkness of her ignorance. She is ignorant of the fact that she is a proud person thus, she can’t see it. 

People with a fixed mindset are ignorant. You must never have a fixed mindset. Always be willing to learn and to grow with humility. Pride can take you nowhere. 

4. Forgive everyone and give as many second chances as you can  

A lot of people have done all they could to be happy and have peace. But, they find out that happiness is not just there and that peace of mind is absent. 

Why is that? It is because you have a lot of grudge against people that have offended you. Yes, we know, it pained you to your heart, and what next? Keep malice? But, do you know what that unforgiveness does to you?

I call it the seed of unforgiveness because it plants a seed in your heart and this seed further grows to become hatred, depression, lack of freedom, zero peace, etc. 

If in only one person’s heart are all these things, then a person like that can never know peace and happiness. For example, if you were to go to a party with your friends and you hear that perhaps the other friend that you keep malice with is coming to the same party. 

Naturally, the only thing you would think of is not going to the party anymore because you want to avoid the person at all costs. And what does that add to you? It doesn’t add instead, it subtracts from your life because you could have gone to the party, had fun, and even have new friends or even new opportunities.

If not for anything will you forgive people, forgive them for the sake of God, for the sake of Christ Jesus. Because if you cannot forget the trespass of people, don’t expect God to forgive you. Forgive everyone, give them as many second chances as possible. 

Mind you, they can still mess up and make terrible mistakes all you have to do is keep forgiving them. This may not be so easy to the flesh. However, it is only The Spirit of God that can make you forgive the trespass of people. Without The Holy Spirit, it is impossible to do so. 

5. Love God

Do you love God? Are you a child of God? Do you believe in Christ Jesus? Even if the rest of the tips on these lists do not resonate with you, I want you to hold this very important to your heart which is to Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength.

And you can do that only by being a child of God. This life is too short. It is like a vapor, it is nothing. Life is more like an empty barrel that makes noise. You will grow old, your strength will leave you and you will die but, what happens after that? Where are you going to spend the rest of your eternity? 

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