Coping with business setbacks

Posted in Business models.

Business setbacks are inevitable, especially when you are starting a new business venture. It is what you do with these business setbacks that will ultimately determine if your new business will triumph or fail. We share some expert opinions on how to turn business setbacks into positives, for you personally and your business professionally:

1. Say no to negativity

How you are wired has a lot to do with how you react in the face of a business setback. According to top psychologists at Stanford University, you can adjust how you react and learn how to turn setbacks into positive learning experiences.

They suggest when faced with a business setback, tackle it head-on and ask yourself two important questions: How permanent is the setback, and, how damaging is the setback, i.e. does it affect part of your business or the entire business? Finally, you need to personalise the setback and look if it was ultimately caused by you. This is not to shift blame but to enable you to turn the setback into an opportunity of what can I/we do next time to prevent this. Then it becomes a positive learning experience for all involved, according to the Stanford psychologists.

Fixating on a business setback won’t make it go away, instead focus on what you’ve learned from the experience and put processes in place to deal with any similar setbacks in future. It’s important to remember that optimists recognise setbacks as temporary events from which positives can be taken. Additionally, learning to compartmentalise a business setback will prevent it from spilling over into your personal life.

2. Learning from business setbacks

The first thing many business owners do when faced with a setback is to blame themselves and then drift away into an isolated guilt-fest. A setback is only a setback if you allow it to be just that. Tying in with point 1 above, this is no time to be overcome with negativity. It’s important to acknowledge the business setback and then finding healthy ways to cope with it.

Research from Princeton suggest that regular exercise reduces anxiety, something we all know. There are many ways to manage stress and anxiety caused by business setbacks, practising mindfulness for one is an excellent way to cope with negativity. Many businesses have introduced breakout rooms for employees to practice mindfulness meditation at work assisting them in dealing with minor setbacks and heightened levels of stress.

Stanford University researchers further suggest that having a positive mantra at work will not only enable you to cope better but also the whole team. They suggest even something as simple as “We’ve got this!” will allow the whole team to rise to the occasion and pull together to get over the setback. By involving the whole team in a business setback, you allow everyone to learn and growth to achieve a better outcome.