How to navigate business obstacles. In the day to day of running our businesses, obstacles can jump out in front of us from time to time. They will throw us off track if we are not careful, to keep us from reaching our destination.
What can we do to navigate through or around these obstacles? By anticipating some of them, we will be better-prepared when we encounter common challenges in our businesses. Having a better understanding of what will help us to meet these head-on will get us through the rough waters until we are back to smooth sailing.
Here are 3 steps on how to navigate business obstacles that we can we easily take to stay on course no matter what:
Treat yourself as your own most important investor
When you have investors, you always bend over backwards to accommodate their needs, wants and desires in your decision-making. Regardless of whether or not you have outside investors, though, remember that you are the most important investor in your business. You are not just investing money into your business, but time and energy (all limited resources!), and hope and faith (hopefully unlimited). So, make sure that you are treating yourself as the most important investor for your business.
What does that look like?
Identify the collateral you are putting on the table for your business. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to see your business idea succeed?
Create an actionable strategic business plan for your own peace of mind. If you are looking to expand, have that plan in writing as well, to show your team, your customers, your prospective investors, anyone with a stake in your success.
Secure those key relationships that will make the difference for your business – investors, customers, suppliers, support team members and partners. Put together all of the necessary paperwork to document these key relationships and desired outcomes.
Take the time to gather information that you need to know that the idea of your business is a good investment for you. Come up with strategies to help you achieve your goals for this business. Be ready to answer all the questions that any investor would ask.
Crunch the numbers. Be real with yourself about the cost of starting, growing and expanding your business. How long will it take to get into revenue? Profiability? How will you survive if you run out of financing? What is your expected return on your investment? Is it really worth your investment of time, money, equity, energy?
Know what systems you need to have in place and the support you will need to manage the growth of your company.
Expect the Unexpected
There are always going to be challenges that you did not anticipate. The key is to step back and make the right plan, in advance if possible, to meet those challenges. Work together with your team to come up with the best solutions and take action.
For example, leasing commercial space can be one of the biggest expenses in your business. It might sound simple: find a space, pay the landlord, move your business in and hang your sign. But the reality is much more difficult.
Perhaps the perfect space is no longer available, or the rent is too high, or there is no room for growth. Be flexible. What can you really afford? Are there other spaces in the same vicinity that could work just as well? What if you have to move out of your current space for one reason or another? Talk to your realtor or the landlord about negotiating for terms that work best you. In these tough economic times, commercial landlords may become very flexible just to keep a tenant.
What if financing that you were expecting to bring in fell through? Have a plan for where you can go to get the money you need. Always have a Plan B for your cash flow.
If you are working with business partners, you will inevitably find that some conflict, mistrust, differences of opinion, or just plain not getting along can easily arise, especially during a growth phase. Have a communication plan for these times. Be prepared to speak honestly and openly to work out any differences. Solid relationships are necessary for any venture to succeed.
Legal challenges are common for any business. Prepare yourself by having someone that you can go to for legal counsel that you know, like and trust.
Have an experienced navigator by your side
As business owners, we tend to believe that we have to wear all of the hats managing every task, including those that we dislike, are not our strong suit, or that could be filled by someone who can cost the business less while freeing you to work at the high-level activities where you are most needed. Trying to overcome your weaknesses or doing everything no matter how low-level the task are a couple of ways that we make it harder for our business to succeed. These behaviours add to the stress and take away the freedom that you were seeking in the first place by running your own business.
Find the right people to fill those gaps, to help navigate the waters that you’re in, and to maintain the 30,000-foot view that you are too mired in the weeds to see. Build a relationship with an attorney to handle the legal aspects of your business. Hire an accountant. Look for a marketing specialist who can help you generate new business. Create a solid sales team with people who believe in your product. Get help with fundraising. Allow yourself to trust another person to be in charge of hiring and training your team.
How to navigate business obstacles?
Surrounding yourself with the right team can make it much easier to keep your business afloat and sailing through calm waters. Don’t let these common obstacles keep you from reaching your destination.