When faced with a business setback, do you bounce back or just bounce?
Mastering the art of the rebound is the key to resilience in business and in life.
We all have off days, even bad years. No matter how solid your strategy, how exceptional your team, how distinctive your IP, trouble is inevitable for a growing business. How we deal with it separates the leaders from the laggards.
Being resilient is essential to avoid a death spiral that can spell the end of your business. Those who bounce back most effectively not only have sound strategies for dealing with problems, they also have an innate ability to sense trouble before it appears on the horizon.
Part of the process of creating a business rebound is establishing good sensors that alert you to early indicators that the market is changing, a deal is going south or a competitor is working on a game-changing innovation.
Assuming you have the tools in place to provide an early warning for approaching business issues, how do you address oncoming problems and respond in a way that will preserve future growth opportunities?
The resilience cycle below illustrates how an agile business anticipates major changes and leaps onto new growth cycles when the time is right. Wait too long, and the crash becomes almost unavoidable. Leap too soon and you may abandon unrealized opportunities.
If you wait until after a crash to fix a problem, the climb back is like reaching the summit of Everest. It can be done, but few have what it takes to make it happen. The goal is simply too high. It requires time, conditioning and capital that flailing businesses can’t spare.
You can see that any jump to a new growth curve includes a minor loss of momentum initially. This is to be expected at you gain your footing, become comfortable with the new environment and establish your position. Don’t let that early dip scare you unless it becomes protracted, which may suggest you chose the wrong path.
To avoid finding yourself in this position, plan ahead and practice making small leaps like these:
- When a product line shows signs of age, determine how to reinvigorate it or make the call to put it to rest.
- If a customer segment becomes unprofitable, seek out new markets and cultivate them before you need to rely on their revenue streams.
- When your employee pool dries up, work with local educational partners to develop new talent.
As these small leaps become ingrained in your culture, it will get easier to make the call on big changes when necessary. The fear of the unknown is tempered by anticipation and excitement for the payoffs that your team has already seen are possible when embracing change.
Practice leaping a little every day and you’ll learn to bounce back quickly when adversity strikes.