It’s pretty inevitable you’re going to encounter some challenging situations from time to time while running your business. Some of these you’ll be able to quickly work through and others are going to make you want to completely throw in the towel. But here’s the thing… the times you want to completely give up? Those are the times that help you grow as a business owner and help take your brand to the next level.
Luckily we haven’t had too many rough patches but there have been a few instances that we’ve had to navigate difficult situations. Using our experiences from past jobs and businesses, we’ve been able to always come out on the other side better than when we began. So we want to pass along how we deal and how we use these situations as opportunities for growth!
So what do we do when we encounter these challenging situations?
First things first, BREATH!
I know it’s going to feel like your brain is running a million miles an hour (which it probably is) but that’s going to make it harder for you to come up with a solution. Take a second and regroup. Whether that means stepping outside for a quick walk, calling a friend to vent, or crying for 5 minutes. Do what you need to do to get the frustration out and clear your mind for a few minutes. That way you can come back with a fresh perspective to handle what needs to be handled.
Stay Calm and Work Through It
Simple but hard to do when it feels like the weight of the world may be teetering on the edge of your business. (Maybe we’re being dramatic here, but you get what we’re saying…) Sometimes all you can do is put your head down and get the work done… whatever it may be. The sooner you’re able to find a solution or fix the problem at hand, the sooner you can get to the next, and most important, step of evaluating what happened and what you can do to avoid that in the future.
Plan for the Future
Alright, here’s where the good stuff comes in. This is where you’re either going to sink or swim when it comes to biz. Any time you have a challenging situation, no matter how big or small, you should be evaluating:
Can this be avoided in the future?
What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
This last question is particularly important because this is where leveling up happens. You create new systems and procedures that become necessary for you to run your business in an effective and efficient manner.. avoiding this particular situation (and others) once again.
Ways you might want to consider making changes can include:
Adjusting contracts to better outline your terms and expectations for both parties
Creating a better communication system
Adjusting your copy to make it more clear
Setting boundaries upfront
Changing your policies and procedures
Streamlining your on-boarding process
These don’t have to be huge, drastic changes. They can just be simple tweaks to your existing framework to make sure things run smoothly moving forward.
Pro tip: If the difficult situation is with another person (say a client, for example), try making it about them in your communication. Ask them how you can help them? Is there a process or way of communicating that works better for them? While this can change the typical way you work, it can help alleviate some stress in the moment if your communication styles or even work styles are different. Then once everything is smoothed over, you can work to identify any areas that you can change in your usual process to avoid any confusion and frustration for both parties in the future.
An Example of How We Deal and Adjust
For all our web design projects, we created Welcome Kits. These walked our clients through the process, gives them “homework” that we needed from them prior to their start date, and provides links to the shared Google Drive folder that would house all the information for their projects.
We recently noticed that we weren’t always getting all the assets, copy, and information we needed from clients by their start date as requested. This caused some stress as we have deadlines for these projects and only take a certain number of design projects on per month. When one falls behind, it bleeds into the next clients timeframe which doesn’t help either client.
So we stopped to evaluate why this was happening. What can we do to make sure this isn’t an issue for future projects? We came to the conclusion that some clients either didn’t notice the Welcome Kit, weren’t downloading it, or just forgot to reference back to it.
Because of this, we decided to make some small changes. We’re still going to have our Welcome Kits but along with those, we plan on putting the instructions with hyperlinks right in our emails as well. Just in case, for whatever reason, clients miss the Welcome Kit.
And so far so good! Not only has this helped cut down on some of the back and forth in the beginning of the project so we can spend more time working on our clients’ projects, but we also can more easily stay on track with each client’s timeline. And that’s a win for everyone involved!
Challenging situations don’t have to be a disaster. There’s always a way to work through them and come out better on the other side! Taking the time to evaluate the entire situation and identify how you can make adjustments is exactly how you level up. This should be a consistent process because with every new stage of your business, there will be new challenges to face. If you take them head on each and every time, they’ll start to get smaller and you’ll only end up on top!