“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”
– NFL Coach Vince Lombardi
Should I give up?
It’s the question that hits every aspiring leader at some point. It’s a seed of doubt rooted deep in our emotions and our identities as humans.
As an entrepreneur, you will continuously face discouragement that threatens to cheat you out of hope and possibility. When you are tempted to quit on your business, what should you do?
Rest is Best
While there are many things you can do to combat discouragement, one of the best things is also the simplest: REST.
Making decisions when you are fatigued or depressed can have long-lasting consequences. A pessimistic outlook can shape the trajectory of a decision, leading to poor outcomes down the road. And weariness has real effects: one study found that U.S. clinicians were 26% more likely to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics to patients during the fourth hour of work on a typical day.
When you feel beat down or uncertain, get a few good nights of sleep, take a vacation, or focus on a different aspect of a challenging project for a bit. Taking time to replenish your emotional and mental resources is one of the best decisions you can make.
Look for Opportunities
When you only focus on problems, the result is restlessness, anxiety, and ulcers.
Instead, push yourself to look for opportunities. In the COVID-19 season, that’s what many businesses are doing.
Sugarbird Sweets and Tea, a California-based scone specialist, grounded their business in selling sweets and teas wholesale to restaurants and hotels. But once stay-at-home orders were issued, these catering orders dried up and clients disappeared:
“Within three weeks, we were down 95 percent of our revenue,” said Kei Okumura, founder and owner of Los Angeles-based Sugarbird Sweets. “We had to quickly pivot to support and provide our services to consumers, direct.”
Sugarbird made an intentional shift from catering to individual online orders. This meant upgrading their platforms and shipping logistics to better serve current and future customers. Okumera says that, though this has been challenging, she sees the rapid increase in online presence as a push toward growth:
“I think it’s a good thing—I think it’s a great thing,” Okumura said about going online. “If I could ship this nationwide with hubs across the nation, so I can do two-day shipping to New York or to the Midwest, that would be fantastic.”
While this season is demanding, it can push every entrepreneur to tighten their business plan and drop any distractions.
Reconnect with Your Why
People are most tempted to quit when their business isn’t making money, or it’s just not fun anymore.
A business won’t survive long if enjoyment or profit are the only things driving you. So, when you’re feeling weary, re-examine the greater meaning that motivates you. Get with other trusted friends and talk through questions like these:
- What do we love to do?
- What was the difference we set out to make in people’s lives through this business?
- How does our company or idea bring distinct value, comfort, or joy?
- Why is our company unique?
The Heart of Every Entrepreneur
While ideas come and go, entrepreneurship is an identity.
To be an entrepreneur is to declare that your mission is to create extraordinary value in the world. Businesses are just vehicles for that value creation, so while the outward form of your business may change, your heart as an entrepreneur will not.