An entrepreneur’s way of life is difficult at the best of times. When unforeseen circumstances occur, it can suddenly become impossible. Unless that is, you have carefully built entrepreneurial resilience, allowing you to face difficult times with fortitude.
The importance of cultivating resilience as a business owner became all too clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. One moment it was a minor news story about a localized event in a foreign country. The next, it was in all our lives, bringing fear, loss, and ruin to millions of people worldwide.
Why building entrepreneurial resilience matters
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 was not the first, nor will it be the last of its kind. Together with global recessions, regional natural disasters, military conflicts, family illnesses, and any number of sudden and dramatic events, there’s always something that can permanently derail a business.
This is why building entrepreneurial resilience is vital.
When you consciously plan for unforeseen events, you’re in a better position to enact contingency plans and ride the disaster out. As an entrepreneur, solopreneur, or a freelancer, you’re also in a stronger position than most people to navigate the turbulent trials of life and business.
How to build entrepreneurial resilience
So what does entrepreneurial resilience look like? What should an entrepreneur be doing in the good times to prepare for the bad times? How can even small changes make a big impact later?
Let’s look at some of the simple yet effective ways you can build resilience for the future, starting today.
It’s vital to:
Planning is an essential aspect of being an entrepreneur. You need to know the direction you want to go, and this usually involves creating a business plan. As part of any planning, it’s good practice to include contingency plans for emergencies covering issues such as cash flow, savings, and emergency funds.
Forward-thinking doesn’t stop after the initial planning either. It’s sensible to make it a regular practice, with updates and modifications to previous plans as the world inevitably changes.
Be sure of your mission
Are you doing the right thing? Many people during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen their businesses disintegrate around their feet. Some industries are facing disaster and perhaps years of difficulties before things return to any semblance of normality.
You need to be sure that the logic behind your passion-fueled business idea is also realistic, both in the short term and long term. Even the most powerful entrepreneurial resilience will find it tough going in some sectors susceptible to volatility during events like pandemics and recessions.
If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer with an online presence, there’s more opportunity to diversify your income. Diversification is a sensible strategy. If one income stream collapses, you have the other streams still bringing in some money.
For example, if you’re a professional service provider, you may create some premium video-based courses or digital products you can sell on your website. You might also do a little affiliate marketing, highlighting books and software you find useful.
Part of diversifying income will include diversifying the services you offer. Internet-based services are easier to continue during national emergencies. Even when people are in lockdown or unable to travel for any reason, they can still access video conferencing software.
Consider how you can expand your current services to include webcam-based versions. A sommelier, for example, can develop a weekly premium online wine class. You never know when it might suddenly become your only form of client interaction.
Diversify target markets
As well as diversifying income and services, you might also consider diversifying your target markets. As with particular industries, some consumer markets at the moment have been hit particularly badly by the coronavirus pandemic. The last thing they want to do is spend money.
On the other hand, other consumer markets are spending as usual, or even more so. Diversify the types of clients and customers you attract. Create targeted landing pages on your site and use copywriting and marketing to sell your services to these different audiences.
Cultivate your tribe
It’s cheaper and easier to keep an existing client or customer as it is to gain a new one. This is even more relevant during national and global emergencies. Make it a priority to stay in touch with previous happy customers, sharing helpful information and beneficial offers.
You can achieve this best via a combination of a blog, email newsletter, and social media platforms. After all, people check their email and social media channels multiple times a day, regardless of outside events. Cultivating your tribe in this way helps keep you top of mind with your market.
Develop personal resilience
Disasters happen, whether locally or globally. They always will. What differentiates people who fall apart from those who continue moving forwards is personal resilience. It’s a quality you can develop.
Resilience on a personal level is essential when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur. One of the best ways to cultivate inner strength and balance is through meditation. The creation of a small space between what you think and how you react can make a massive difference to your emotional wellbeing.
Make better use of technology
When things are not going so well, you need to free up time and focus on priorities. Making better use of your time is where technology can play a huge role, in particular cloud-based software. For entrepreneurs and freelancers, technology enables you to speed up workflows, integrate and synchronize various apps, and automate numerous processes.
With Invoice Ninja, for example, you can track and record your billable time, automate late payment invoice reminders, manage multiple projects, keep track of income and expenses, and so much more.
Now is the time to build your resilience
Building entrepreneurial resilience takes time. It’s not an overnight switch. That’s why it’s important to begin making adjustments to your professional life, starting today.
It’s a little too late to plan and mitigate the disastrous effects of the COVID-19 crisis, but you can prepare for the next one. Whether it’s an economic recession, a personal illness, another pandemic, or a political mishap, there will be something.
Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to cultivate your personal and business resilience. Now is the time to make sure you’re in the best possible position to maintain a survivable income, whatever happens down the road.