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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

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                      Tanvir Zafar

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

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                      Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

                      However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

                      Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

                      Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

                      There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

                      Better Job Offers

                      Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

                      People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

                      Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

                      You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

                      Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

                      A Shot at Entrepreneurship

                      Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

                      We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

                      13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

                      1. Update Your Resume

                      You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

                      Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

                      While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

                      There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

                      2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

                      Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

                      That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

                      To hone this skill:

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                      Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

                      Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

                      This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

                      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

                      3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

                      Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

                      Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

                      4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

                      No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

                      Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

                      Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

                      These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

                      The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                      5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

                      Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

                      How to hone this skill:

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                      Practice being resourceful.

                      Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

                      Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

                      No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

                      If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

                      6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                      6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

                      Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

                      The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

                      Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

                      Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

                      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

                      7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

                      Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

                      What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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                      Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

                      5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

                      8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

                      Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

                      Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

                      Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

                      What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

                      9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

                      How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

                      Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

                      Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

                      The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                      10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

                      Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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                      Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

                      Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

                      You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

                      How to hone this skill:

                      All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      12. Build Networks and Relationships

                      You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

                      Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

                      To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

                      How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

                      Final Thoughts

                      Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

                      You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

                      Happy career switching!

                      More Resources About Career Advancement

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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