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Published on July 1, 2019

10 Successful Entrepreneurs Stories About Getting Through Tough Times

10 Successful Entrepreneurs Stories About Getting Through Tough Times

We all face challenges, regardless of what field we choose to operate in. In our little way, we have developed mechanisms to help us fight them. And while these tactics might not necessarily be the same, we all have stories about how they’ve worked for us — and in some cases, how they’ve not worked.

So, to help keep you in check, here are 10 successful entrepreneurs stories which are also some intense challenges that all businesses face. You will also find expert advice from professionals concerning how they they deal with these challenges.

1. Jeff Brodsly: Working Through Tight Finances

    How do you keep yourself and your business engaged when you don’t have sufficient funds to continue operating?

    Finances are the engine which drives your business, and a lack of sufficient funds is especially dire when you have an innovation or a means to, and you have just so many developments that need to be made before your product can launch.

    Still, there’s no cash.

    It’s a problem that Jeff Brodsly, Co-Owner of Elite Merchant Solutions, is all too familiar with. The company set out to provide merchant account setup services across the country, and things didn’t always start so rosy. However, his solution always comes in the form of compartmentalizing.

    He said,

    “Compartmentalize… when budgets got real lean, I compartmentalized the immediate pain of a tight budget and kept the long term goal in mind.”

    2. Doug Burgoyne: Work-Related Stress

      When the stress of the business gets excessive, how do you keep yourself form capitulating?

      You can’t have a business without necessarily going through some stressful times. These periods make you question your motives for even owning the business, and they could cause you to begin doubting whether you truly can pull through.

      However, it is important for you to keep your eyes focused on the vision of your business and where you see yourself going to. You built a vision for your business at the onset, and you have status or situation or place where you see yourself. Never lose sight of that, as it is what will give you the drive to keep going.

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      Doug Burgoyne, President of Frogbox said,

      “My philosophy on managing my attitude when things are stressful focuses around four things: Mission, Vision, Values and a Realistic view of the financial situation.”

      3. Retha Sandler: Feeling Stuck In Business

        Is there any way to work around multiple commitments?

        Time and task management are two things that you will need to develop as a business owner. Managing multiple tasks over a short period of time will come to be an invaluable skill as you move on down the timeline of your business, and you need to understand how to merge both.

        However, it is also important for you to understand which tasks take priority and which might affect the mold you’re looking to build. These should be given your attention.

        Retha Sandler, President of Blamtastic said,

        “I make 100 decisions a day, 99 of which I don’t want to think about. The little things cannot be ignored and take up a big portion of your time as a business owner, but keeping the big picture in focus is vital to survival.”

        4. Loredo Rucchin: Handling Online Staffing Problems

          In a world where things move rapidly, what are the basics that my business needs?

          In most times, it becomes impossible for you to scale through certain challenges on your own. That’s why you’ve got employees and a team of people working on a project with you.

          So, make sure that you hire the right crop of people to help you scale these challenges, and you can be secure in the fact that they’ve got your back as well.

          Loredo Rucchin, CEO of JukeBoxPrint, said,

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          “As you grow, your challenges will change dramatically. If you are operating your business mostly or even partially online, you need a good IT team (yes, you need to hire multiple people) to keep your website stable, secure and operating smoothly.”

          5. Adam Anthony: Obstacle To Your Position

            As the head of a business or company, how do you tackle people or situations that threaten your authority?

            Hostile takeover attempts are common. How do you navigate them?

            The issue of holding your own when challenges come is an important one, because at the end of the day, it is what will determine your mettle as a leader and whether you truly have what it takes.

            Well, instead of cowering out, develop a mindset that enjoys these challenges.

            Adam Anthony, CEO of Creo Care, said,

            “To maintain a healthy perspective we take inventory of the great attributes of our company… Instead of cringing at challenges, we try to savor them… and reflect upon past triumphs.”

            6. Mohan Varkey: Difficult Media And Public Perception

              When change does come, it is important for you to be ready. You might have to pivot, but keep in mind that your core business practices don’t necessarily need to switch as well.

              You’re who you are, and sticking to that can help you keep your identity as you pivot.

              How do you handle people seeing you in a difficult light?

              Be a friend and keep the consistency up.

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              The public is your major market, and it is important that these people see you as a friend who is willing to help out. That’s the only way they will be guaranteed to patronize you

              Also, as Mohan Varkey CEO, of Zebra Blinds once said,

              Keep in mind that consistency is key. You don’t necessarily have to stick to the same old thing, but ensure that you’re consistently good at one thing to keep your business running.

              7. Dave DuPont: Handling Unplanned Change

                When an unanticipated dynamic is thrown into the mix, what is the best approach?

                Change is an issue that some businesses never see coming. It could be a switch in the market or an innovation that threatens to make what you do obsolete.

                It is also important for you to know- especially in your early days- that there is always an opportunity or a potential for you to pivot. Some businesses end up flipping their blueprint and moving into a model that wasn’t there from the start. If it’s essential to your business survival, then “zag” your perspective.

                Dave DuPont, CEO of Teamsnap said,

                “Perspective allows me to know that just about any successful business does not follow the plan it starts out with… Groupon [for example] was originally a cause-based message board. Call it adjusting or pivoting, whatever. I call it ‘zagging.'”

                8. Ellen Rohr: Getting Ready For A Shake-Up

                  When change comes, how do you deal with it, especially if it has the potential to make my company obsolete?

                  A way to ensure that you’re ready for the inevitable change is seeping a holistic view of things. The problem that a lot of business heads and owners make is never keeping a view on the various things that could drive their businesses, and it ends up coming back to haunt them.

                  Being a leader is understanding the facts and knowing how your business progresses along a certain curve. Be in the know.

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                  Ellen Rohr, public speaker and president of Ellen Rohr ZOOM DRAIN – Zoom Franchise Company said,

                  “Once a week, I review my business plan, review our top projects list, look through the marketing calendar and the financials. I believe you plan or get planned for.”

                  9. Christian T. Russell: Defying Existential Crises

                    If you’ve had a business for a long time, then you’ll understand what it means to have an existential business crisis. Essentially, it is a challenge that is so significant, and it makes you wonder why you built your business in the first place and whether you truly have what it takes to pull through

                    When these times come, the solution is to remain resolute in the fact that you understand your purpose for being here. Challenges will come, but that conviction in your identity will keep you standing.

                    Christian T. Russell, President of Dangerous TACTICS, said,

                    “You HAVE to know your purpose for running your company in the first place! Why does your business exist? Who do you serve? What do they need most from you, right now? 99% of business owners do not take the time for this introspection.”

                    10. J.T. O’Donnell: Getting A Challenge For Control Of Your Business

                      There is always a chance of people looking to believe that they’re more essential to your business than you are. You get threats over what you can and can’t do, and it could even seem that people might want to hamstring you at some points in time.

                      So assure yourself of your purpose here.

                      Challenges could be internal (within the company) or external (from outside sources it could be competitors, customers, or contractors). When these happen, keep in mind that you own the business and there’s a place you’re going to. This will fuel you to deal with any such conflict.

                      J.T. O’Donnell, President of advocacy and career consulting firm, Work It Daily said,

                      “I remind myself that nobody is making me do this. I chose to build a company… I can stop if I want. This always reminds me that I’d be miserable doing anything else.”

                      Final Thoughts

                      Challenges are a part of every business journey, and you need to be ready to tackle them. Using any of these tips from bonafide entrepreneurs, you can easily get things done and reach a stage where challenger are unable to surmount you anymore.

                      More About Entrepreneurship

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

                      More by this author

                      Tanvir Zafar

                      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

                      15 Organization Apps to Boost Your Personal Productivity How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques 10 Successful Entrepreneurs Stories About Getting Through Tough Times 15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful 20 Best Places to Work for a Great Career in 2019

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                      Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                      Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                      Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                      I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

                      How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

                      Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

                      So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

                      1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

                      Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

                      For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

                      Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

                      “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

                      2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

                      These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

                      This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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                      But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

                      Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

                      For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

                      There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

                      3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

                      It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

                      Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

                      4. Use Your Phone Wisely

                      Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

                      If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

                      5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

                      If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

                      In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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                      One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

                      6. Use a “To Don’t” List

                      We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

                      But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

                      Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

                      7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

                      When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

                      Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

                      “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

                      And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

                      8. Be Concise

                      Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

                      One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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                      Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

                      • Making new contacts
                      • Talking about yourself at a job interview
                      • Meeting people at conferences or parties
                      • Phone calls to new clients

                      9. Ask the Right Questions

                      “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

                      How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

                      When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

                      Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

                      Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

                      10. Learn as Much as You Can

                      You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

                      Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

                      “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

                      11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

                      No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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                      If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

                      What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

                      Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

                      12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

                      As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

                      But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

                      The Bottom Line

                      The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

                      Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

                      More About Working Smart

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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