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10 Steps to Resilience for Entrepreneurs

How entrepreneurs can build personal, team and company resilience in their startup.

Resilience is important because mistakes will be made, there will be failures and it’s likely to be a hard slog along a very rocky path. For a startup to survive and flourish resilience is a necessary trait; for the individuals involved, the team and the company itself. If you can look on setbacks and failure as an opportunity to grow and develop then you’ll be able to bounce back and possibly gain a competitive advantage.

There are some traits, attitudes and techniques you can use to help you deal with the tough times

  1. Have a mission.
    Resilience for entrepreneurs: have a mission and direction
    Know where you’re going

    This gives you, your team and your company purpose, a clear focus and provides a vision that everyone can buy into. When things are tough look forward, of course, you need to learn from things that haven’t gone well but you also need to see the big picture. Tuning into your mission will help strengthen your resolve and put setbacks in context.

  2. Be adaptable:
    Resilience for entrepreneurs: be able to change
    Cope with twists and turns

    Keep your eye on what you are trying to achieve and don’t be a slave to how you think you’ll get there. If something isn’t working it’s good to be tenacious but it’s even better if you know when to try a different tack. Don’t allow yourself, you team or company to get into a comfort zone; maintaining some level of change keeps everyone more ready to adapt when circumstances need them to. Be ready to solve problems, it’s likely you’ll have many twists and turns to get where you want to go.

  3. Be decisive:
    resilience for entrepreneurs: Be decisive, give things the green light
    Give your plan the green light

    Take responsibility: be bold, standing still isn’t an option for a startup company. Lean Startup methodology is about systematically moving from your first idea ‘Plan A’ to a plan that works without running out of resources. If you don’t make decisions you won’t keep moving towards finding a plan that works and at some point you will simply run out of resources to keep going. Often it’s better to make any decision than no decision.

  4. Look ahead:
    resilience for entrepreneurs: see the big picture
    scan the horizon

    Be prepared, what’s on the horizon for you, your team and your company? Where are the opportunities, challenges and threats in your environment? You can’t expect to predict the future but at least you can think about what’s likely to happen. Look at the market, examine the history of similar companies, understand how change can impact teams. Once you have identified possibilities then you can make plans that are more strategic and realistic

  5. Be optimistic:
    Resilience for entrepreneurs; hope for luck
    maintain optimism

    Be hopeful and confident about future success and be positive in your approach. Watch out for people who are negative and drain you of energy. Don’t give yourself a hard time when you make mistakes and don’t dwell on it for too long; learn from them and move on. Be a role model to your team and a positive leader of your company.

  6. Be tenacious:
    Resilience for entrepreneurs in your startup, don't be stubborn
    Dig in when you need to

    Persevere and make sure that you are being rational in your decision making around this. Avoid being stubborn in the face of evidence; tenacious is about refusing to give up while stubborn-ness is about refusing to change. be resolute, dig in when you need to and deal with problems and difficulties quickly, don’t shy away from them. Persistence can pay off when you have hard or multi-faceted goals to achieve.

  7. Be communicative:
    Resilience for entrepreneurs: keep optimistic
    Celebrate success

    Share and celebrate your successes on a personal, team and company level. Communicating with your team can gain their buy-in and engages them with the decision making processes. Don’t hide things that have gone wrong but keep optimistic about the future. Be willing to listen to criticism and different viewpoints. Communicate with stakeholders to involve them and keep them informed.

  8. Seek and accept support:
    Resilience for entrepreneurs: Don’t try to do everything on your own
    Seek and accept support

    Look after yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Don’t try to do everything on your own, surround yourself with the right people, gain strength from them and make sure you listen to them. Actively look for feedback and take it on board. Seek mentors to learn from what others have done before you and to gain advice and guidance from people with experience and knowledge

  9. Be customer focused:
    resilience for entrepreneurs, keep doing customer discovery
    Be customer focused

    Always think about your company and your product or service from the customers perspective. Don’t drive your startup forward with your head down solely focused on your achieving your initial idea. You need to keep looking around, carrying out customer discovery and being flexible so you can meet their demands.

  10. Be self-aware:
    resilience, you may need to be thick skinned
    you may need the hide of a rhino

    Reflect on yourself, take a step back, slow down or pass on responsibilities if you need to. Find ways to relax and give your brain and body time to focus on other things, or not focus at all! Learn to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Try to build strategies and think about the approaches you take rather than being impulsive or falling into your preferred habits and patterns of thinking. Sometimes you’ll need to be thick-skinned.

Build resilience in yourself and your team so you can all respond positively when under pressure and rebound quickly from disappointments and mistakes. The attitude you bring to leading your startup, managing yourself and your relationships, will be what carries you to a successful outcome.

Take pleasure from things that go as planned, enjoy the new experiences you have and relationships you build and remember to celebrate achievements and progress.

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