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For those who're having a tough time operating your small business, do it proper. Right here's why

November
5, 2020

5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

I often hear my friends and co-workers announce that they enjoy being challenged. It makes sense. Ultimately, challenge leads to learning and growth. So if you want to learn and grow, it is good to be challenged.

Because as often as I hear this, it seems like maybe not everyone is honest. A 2018 Bravely study found that 70 percent of employees avoid difficult conversations with their boss, co-workers, and immediate co-workers, while 53 percent of employees deal with toxic situations by ignoring them.

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Despite the way many of us take pride in dealing with adversity, it is completely understandable that so many employees avoid situations that make them uncomfortable and require serious effort.

On the other hand, valuable results often mean accepting these challenges. If you find it uncomfortable and difficult to run your business, you are likely to be doing things right. Here's why:

It should be hard

As someone who runs a small business and watches friends build businesses, I've learned that anyone who says it's easy to run a business isn't telling the whole truth. Even the simplest of businesses face complex challenges.

If you don't think about your customers and responsibilities, it is very possible that it is nobody. You take the initiative to grow and build, and the decisions you make have important, tangible implications for the bottom line. That's a lot of pressure.

Furthermore, not everyone wants or should run a business, and there is a reason for that. Who wouldn't sign up if working for oneself resulted in riches easily? When you start a business, you not only take full responsibility, but also challenge the companies that currently exist. This requires creativity, strength and the willingness to question the status quo.

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Even very successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk face challenges. Here are just a few of them:

His first PayPal product (then known as x.com) was voted one of the top ten worst business ideas in 1999.

His first two SpaceX rocket launches failed.

In 2008, both Tesla and SpaceX were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Sometimes Musk is only responsible for certain challenges. In 2018, he was under scrutiny by the SEC for claiming on Twitter that funding was "secured" to make Tesla private. The behavior caused stocks to fall 20 percent this August.

Growth brings serious satisfaction

Having trouble with your business doesn't mean that you are not smart enough to be successful or that you are a bad CEO. Rather, it means that you have room to grow and achieve your goals.

I've always told myself that I enjoy being challenged, and it was only recently that I realized that this isn't always the case. It is a miserable feeling that I am not smart enough and may not succeed.

However, from this point of need I find satisfaction. Reflecting on how my thinking and making decisions over the past six months during the crisis, as well as how that personal growth affected my business, has been one of the most rewarding efforts I've made recently.

It is one thing to know that this challenge will lead to growth, but quite another to face this challenge head on. Here are some tips for doing just that:

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Realize that it is okay to fight

The first step is to take on the challenges. The first time I ran into roadblocks, I became self-critical and thought I didn't have what it takes to be a success.

However, the reality is that fighting is common among founders. Just because things are difficult doesn't make you any less of a leader, nor does it mean that you are doomed to fail.

Be patient

As convenient as it would be if the solution seemed magical every time you faced a roadblock, that is rarely the case. Be tactical instead of overreacting or lying down.

I am not saying to accept laziness or complacency. Rather, it's a good idea to take a step back and give yourself the space you need. Think "first principle" to the root of the problem, figure out what information you need, determine what to test, decide who to speak to, and build from there.

Find sources of strength

When I'm discouraged and don't feel like I can get up on my own, I find other outlets. I literally have a Spotify playlist dedicated to those moments and full of songs that give me strength and optimism to deal with the struggle (or peace and harmony to deal with volatile days).

Talk to others who you build up, pursue hobbies that you master (or want to), and spend time outdoors. Have a Zoom call with an old friend. Spend a socially detached afternoon at a recently opened playground with a co-parent. Do whatever works for you when times get tough.

When you find that courage and that confidence, you can approach your problems creatively and directly.

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