Between finding ways to cope with the impact of inflation, ongoing supply chain issues, and struggling to find and retain employees amid the Great Resignation, small business owners have had their fair share of hardships in recent months. Not surprisingly, the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index decreased in March 2022 by 2.4 points, making it the third consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98.
The good news is that small business owners are notorious for their resilience, hard work, and determination. And as recent research has also found, many business owners are anticipating things to bounce back this summer with almost 65% of entrepreneurs predicting that their businesses will grow over the next 3 months.
As any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you, as a business owner you’re going to experience waves of successes and setbacks. Because of this, it can sometimes be challenging to stay positive when running a business. But the key to overcoming adversity is to keep your chin up, put things in perspective, and to stay focused on the things that are within your control. Maintaining a positive outlook in business can be the difference between failure and success.
Here are 7 ways to keep a positive mindset when you encounter business challenges:
- Remember that “Tough Times Don’t Last, but Tough People Do.”
As the famous Robert Schuller quote reminds us, despite the challenges small businesses face, it’s important to remember that rough patches are always temporary. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
- Remind Yourself of Your “Why”
When struggling to stay positive, think about why you started your business in the first place. Channel that same passion and determination that you had when you set out on your entrepreneurial journey and remind yourself what you love about what you do.
- Surround Yourself with Positivity
It’s hard to stay positive if you are surrounded with things that make you feel negatively. Eliminate activities that put you in a bad mood like scrolling through social media or watching the news. Instead, try writing positive affirmations, finding encouraging quotes to keep on your desk, listening to uplifting music, or reading a motivational book.
- Do Away with Negative Self-Talk
Just as it’s important to surround yourself with positivity externally, it’s also important to have a positive inner dialogue. Negative self-talk hurts your confidence and hampers your ability to believe in yourself and your competence as a business owner. In order to be able to reach your full entrepreneurial potential, work on eliminating any form of self-sabotaging. When you feel negative self-talk creeping up, ask yourself if you would say those things to a good friend or family member. One way to make your inner dialogue more positive is to change an expression like, “I always fail at this” to “Ok, I just learned one way that I can do this better next time” or the expression “I hate this and I’m not good at it” can become “This is challenging and I’m still learning”.
- Reframe How You View Setbacks
It may be tempting to have a pity party, but you can learn something from every single failure or setback you experience as an entrepreneur. Instead, try to turn obstacles into learning experiences and reflect on some of the biggest business challenges you’ve faced in the past. Remind yourself how you were able to get through them and the invaluable lessons you learned from them.
- Let Go of Rigidity and Be Adaptable
If you are one of those people who have a “But that’s how we’ve always done it” mindset, then you’re going to need to make some changes to develop a positive outlook. When things get difficult and what you’ve always done isn’t working, you have a choice. You can either adopt a negative mindset and resign yourself to making excuses and complaining, or you can work on how to adapt and rise to the current challenges your business is facing. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses who let go of rigidity and were agile found new ways to successfully pivot and continue to serve their customers.
- Stop Complaining
Sure, there are probably plenty of things to complain about, but what good does it do you to spend time and energy complaining? Doing so will just put you in a bad mood and waste precious time that you could be using to find solutions to your problems.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Having a positive outlook in business will help you have:
- Increased energy
- Better coping skills during trying times and stressful situations
- A more positive workplace environment for you and your employees
- Resiliency to bounce back from failure
- Better relationships
- Higher self-esteem.
Remember that positive thinking doesn’t mean pretending that unpleasant things and challenges aren’t going to happen. Positive thinking is approaching what life throws at you in a more constructive and productive way.
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