If you're not experiencing any challenges in your business, then don't read this post. But if you are, and you can't seem to figure out how they will pay off in the long run, then keep reading. I'm going to tell you. By the way, I don't wear rose-colored glasses. I don't walk around all day, singing “Tra-la-la, bring on more challenges.” Yet, when challenges come, albeit uninvited, I always get the better part of the bargain.
I have blogged previously about how challenging our current economy is and how much the rules of business have changed and continue to change. But challenges are beneficial. The more challenges we face, the more opportunities we have to improve ourselves. And when we improve ourselves, we improve our businesses. It's a wonderfully fulfilling circle. Here are ten reasons to be thankful for your business challenges:
- Challenges force you to change. Remaining stagnant over a period of time will shut down you and your business. Challenges require you to shift, to pivot — to rise to the challenge by doing something different. This keeps everything fresh. If you change over and over and over again to meet different challenges, you and your business will be all the better for it.
- Challenges cause the cream to rise to the top. As you and everyone else in your industry are constantly challenged, over time, the dead weight drops off and the the cream rises to the top. You can begin to more clearly see what you have to do to continue to be successful because there are more truly successful business models for you to follow. Success leaves clues, and the more challenges you and other business owners face, the more clues you collectively leave. You build each other up as you leave footprints for the next generation to follow.
- Challenges cause you to be more grateful. Working hard to meet challenges makes play time so much more fun. You can relish a vacation more fully when the time leading up to it found you hacking through the jungle of business to get your your next goal.
- Challenges force you to mature. Most artisan entrepreneurs start their businesses with stars in their eyes, looking forward to blissful days doing what they love and watching the appreciative world of buying customers beat a path to their door. When the challenges come, the realities of business set it, and you're forced over and over again to balance doing what you love with learning to love what you have to do. Meeting challenges helps you to become a more mature business leader, which leads to more profits and more opportunities to help others.
- Challenges force you to innovate. Whether the challenge is lack of funds or lack of time (two of the most significaint and common small business challenges), either one will force you to get innovative. Can't do everything yourself? Figure out how to pay your assistant for a few more hours a week. Don't have enough money to buy that new collection of packaging supplies? Figure out a way to negotiate a payment plan with your supplier. When challenges come, you either figure it out or you die. Figuring it out makes you stronger, and future challenges eventually start looking more and more like cake walks.
- Challenges force you to conserve resources. Don't think it's possible to squeeze blood out of a turnip? Well, you just haven't been in business long enough. After thirteen years, I can tell you that it's possible. Financial challenges force you to find a way to do the seemingly impossible, often by recycling what you already have. This is an especially point to remember for entrepreneurs. We have to find resources when it looks like there are none.
- Challenges force you to smash the box. When you're hit with a crazy business challenge, you don't just think outside the box. You smash the box. Bam! Done. Next challenge, please!
- Challenges show you what you're made of. After you overcome an especially challenging situation, your confidence level increases. And when that happens enough over a long enough period of time, look out. You become an unstoppable locomotive barreling down the tracks in a straight trajectory toward the life of your dreams.
- Challenges teach humility. When things are going well in your business, it's easy to begin to coast and think that what you did yesterday will sustain you today. Nothing could be further from the truth, and challenges come along to remind us not to become too comfortable with yesterday's success.
- Challenges teach you how to ask for help. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. They also ask for help. Challenges remind us that we are never too self sufficient to reach out for help when we need it, and that when we ask, help is never far away.
While you may not be able to control what types of challenges come your way, and when, you can control whether you run from them or embrace them as opportunities to press forward toward a better life.
Question: What did I miss? What are some other reasons to be thankful for business challenges? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to know your thoughts!