April 20th, 2018

Business Beat: Overcoming obstacles in your business

By Medicine Hat News on May 24, 2017.

A friend of mine just returned from an athletic race in Kalispell, Mont.

The Montana Spartan Beast is a trial of strength, endurance and resolve, and it attracts competitors willing to test their limits and push past them in a quest to find their personal best. Over the course of a gruelling four hours and 15 minutes my friend conquered a dozen miles and more than 30 difficult obstacles.She described one of them to me: A high wall, at an angle that you had to run at and try to get some traction to get up before finally grabbing a small rope and climbing over. It was one of her toughest challenges, and the first time she ran at it she got scared and slowed down. She finally made it over on the fourth try, an accomplishment she saw as possible only because she put her mind to it and refused to give up. She was rewarded for her perseverance; at the top, a kind stranger waited and grabbed her hand to help her over.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs face obstacles too.Just like running in a marathon competition, running a business will leave you facing challenges that require commitment and ingenuity.What can business leaders and entrepreneurs do to overcome the obstacles they face, and what can we learn from the marathon athlete?

Fall down, get back up, and try again.Not every strategy works the first time so don’t quit. Try again, even if it means you will fall down several times.Understand what you might need to adjust the next time you attempt to conquer that obstacle.

Surround yourself with champions.Who are those people in your life or in your business that have your back, that will help hold you up when you are tired or need advice, and who will reach out to grasp your hand and help you over the wall?These are the people that you want to align yourself with to get you through the hard times.

Get the right equipment to run the race.Learn everything you can to help your business.If you are starting a business, you can access various free tools to help you understand what things you need to do. There are detailed checklists that will provide an outline on what things you need to consider:What are your start-up costs, who are your competitors, who will you work with to secure financing, what is your planned timeframe to open the business, what will you name your business, where will your business be located, how will your customers find you, and there are many more on that list. The more you learn about business, the stronger you will be, and you will need that strength and endurance when you face that first obstacle.

Rehydrate.As a business leader, running a race, you need to take time to refresh your skills and learn about new trends and technology that might help your business.

Persevere with passion. Every obstacle will challenge you but if you love what you do and stick with your plan you are likely to get through tough times.While your goal is always to make it to the finish line, remember that your objective is not to be the first one there, but among those competitors who would not quit.

Community Futures Entre-Corp has been supporting small business since 1988.We can help you understand your business options and provide you with the tools and advice that you need to run your business. For more information about our programs, please call Community Futures at403-528-2824.

Elizabeth Blair is the regional innovation network coordinator for APEX Alberta. APEX Alberta supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta. APEX Alberta is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates.

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