For entrepreneurs, the only constants in business are hurdles, challenges, pivots, and often more failures than successes. They face obstacles all day long. From convincing investors to give them money, to struggling to meet payroll.
Dealing with failed expensive investments, maneuvering unexpected complications, or launching a new product in the market during the least favorable time, sooner or later many come to the realization that not all entrepreneurs are cut out for the journey.
Those who make it, learn how to turn the hurdles into paving their way to success. They seem to know how to turn the unending stream of difficulties into advantages and emerge even stronger and more successful.
Unlike those who lose their head when subjected to such obstacles, taking advantage of bad times and converting failures and obstacles into opportunities is the key to the long life of any business. This fact is well explained by Andy Grove, as particularly apt during our Covid-19 pandemic.
“Bad companies are destroyed by crises; good companies survive them; great companies are improved by them.” — Andy Grove
See Failures as Opportunities
Thinking of growth amidst failure, sounds counter-intuitive, but it is the best thing you can do to fight sadness, and devastation in your life. It can turn failure upside down and change a cursed fate into a blessed one.
“Doubling down during challenges isn’t cliché, it’s what separates the winner from the whiners.”
First of all, you need to experience failures to learn and grow, as featured in my last blog. If instead of learning from failures, you feel devastated and quit, the results can be dangerous.
For instance, let’s say you invest in a stock that immediately doesn’t meet your expectations, and you lose some of your money, you have two ways to go:
1) is to learn that perhaps “it was not the right time to invest”, or you should have invested in a dividend growth company, and then put this experience to work while planning the next investment.
2) you feel angry and devastated by the loss and quit investing.
The first option is more desirable and beneficial, where you turn your failures into a guide for your journey towards success.
Obstacles or crises in business are actually the opportunity to grow, but only for people with courage to do so. During time of crises, while most become afraid of losses in the future, a rational and savvy entrepreneur takes advantage of things like the dropped costs of production, real estate, and raw materials. They take advantage of the lower costs of goods and turn a crisis into a competitive advantage.
Look out for opportunities inside failures, obstacles, or difficulty. It helps to build a positive and growth mindset.
“A positive mindset will look at everything as an opportunity. With a positive approach to a crisis, leaders can make better decisions with confidence.”
This mindset also helps to develop an encouraging work environment for everyone in the company based on gratitude, instead of fear. A learned leader with a passionate team translates into an unstoppable business that has one success after the other.
Turning Failures into Opportunities
What are the best strategies to convert a failure into an opportunity? The prerequisite is to think differently. Don’t let your perception of events cloud your judgment with “it can’t be done” thinking.
Insist that obstacles are malleable, not concrete. Have faith in your ability to make something happen that seems to be impossible for others. This approach of thinking differently has given birth to giants like Microsoft and LinkedIn amidst economic crises.
Another popular technique to emerge from a failure as a winner is to anticipate the hurdles before they show up. This technique is popular with successful leaders at Fortune 500 companies.
The key is to rehearse in your mind and on paper what could go wrong, and to which extent, and devise a plan to deal with it. Using this technique, you can avoid crises and surpass competitors who didn’t plan as well as you.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your job isn’t to avoid failure or obstacles, they are guaranteed to happen. Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that failures happen, challenges happen, it’s not how often you get knocked down, it’s how often and how fast you get back up.
There is a reason why many successful entrepreneurs were also very active in sports when younger. You have to “be an athlete in mindset” to succeed in business and in life.
“Learn to see failures as successfully proven methods of what doesn’t work, and through the process of elimination get to the method that does.”
To get the best out of obstacles, you need to see them as an opportunity to learn from them. If anything disastrous happens to you, own the failure.
Analyze each step of your plan of action, your team members’ role, and use of resources. Identify and pinpoint the cause of failure and restart the task on the basis of what you have learned from it.
Let your previous hurdles serve as a lighthouse to sail through the ocean of difficulties. Convert the problems and challenges you face, into learning how to get to your ultimate destination of success.