Despite the adversity businesses face today, West Virginia’s economy is doing well in 2022. Unemployment in the first part of this year reached 3.9%, an all-time low. State leaders are optimistic about what 2022 will bring, even though we are still feeling the effects of a pandemic after two years: effects that small business owners have felt the most. The three main complications affecting small businesses in 2022 are COVID-19 (the threat of new variants), inflation, and supply-chain issues. At 3 Steps to Startup, we understand issues like these because we’ve experienced and overcome them! Below, we identify 5 helpful strategies for entrepreneurs to overcome adversity and thrive.   

  • Achieve work/life balance

Burnout is not productive. Period. Burnout is particularly debilitating in the face of adversity. Start combatting difficulties you can’t control by taking care of yourself both inside and outside work. You can start by creating boundaries for work. For example, turn off email and phone notifications after a particular time in the evening. Communicate the boundaries with colleagues that need to know them. Another good start is recognizing when you have too much on your plate. Then, say “no” to more obligations. Finally, feed your mind and body with exercise or meditation. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural stress-relievers. Do not underestimate the power of moving your body!  

  • Network  

Networking is vital in times of adversity. Not only can you lean on advisors to hear how they coped with similar experiences, but expanding your network also means you are expanding your talent pool. You can mitigate certain complications by hiring those experienced with the issues your business is facing or might face. Part of networking also requires listening to advice from others and trusting experts to handle decisions in their wheelhouse.   

  • Remember your strengths  

Adversity does not define you! Entrepreneurs who dwell on difficulties and obsess over failure are doomed to experience the worst. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy! Instead, shift your focus to what qualities give your business promise. Business challenges can be both expected and unexpected, but whether or not they arise is usually out of our control. Employ a solution-oriented approach equipped with skills that made you successful in the first place, and be confident that success is assured.   

  • Embrace challenges – attitude is everything  

Chances are, every other business in your field is experiencing similar challenges. Are you going to take those challenges and capitalize? Every entrepreneur faces adversity at some point during their business venture. Good entrepreneurs can weather the storm and survive. Great entrepreneurs capitalize: they use adversity to their advantage! Starting a business starts with identifying a problem. Without problems, innovation does not happen. These 13 companies arose during a recession, and include giants like: 

  •  Disney started right as the Great Depression began. By the time the depression ended, the company was poised to release its first film: Snow White.  
  • IBM began in the middle of a two-year-long financial crisis, and the company eventually played an integral role in the digital revolution.  
  • Hyatt opened amid a travel and business slump, but the company grew from one to three hotels in just a few years. It continued to grow into what it is today. 
  • Trader Joe’s began around the same time as Hyatt when its founder identified the rise of the “overeducated” but “underpaid” individual. Providing unique food items for those on a budget proved to be successful and the rest is history. 

Each of these companies had one thing in common: they saw challenges as opportunities and went for it! Further, these successful companies (and more), see opportunities to adapt and surpass the competition when challenges strike.  

  • Seek help!  

Believe it or not, asking for help is a skill! People, especially self-starters like entrepreneurs, are predisposed to doing things independently. There are many reasons for this:  

  • Individuals feel a sense of pride to accomplish things solo. That pride, however, will not aid in accomplishing your goals in the same way that reaching out for help would!   
  • Individuals fear that they appear weak or incompetent when they ask for help. The Catch-22 is, however, that refusing to seek help may ensure that you are incompetent.   
  • Finally, individuals do not like to relinquish control. There are ways to retain control when seeking help, though, and this mentality should not be an obstacle.   

There are so many ways for entrepreneurs in our state to reach out for guidance! In the fall, West Virginia Executive Magazine featured the “vast resources West Virginia entrepreneurs have at their fingertips in the great Mountain State.” Among the resources, WV Executive identifies 3 Steps to Startup as elevating small businesses in our state, and this winter, the magazine featured our contributions to the entrepreneur community. 3 Steps is a resource for any and all West Virginia entrepreneurs or entrepreneur hopefuls. Our organization of experienced business owners, advisors, and investors is a wealth of knowledge and resources to help West Virginia businesses through any adversity. Reach out to us today to see how we can help and subscribe to our newsletter for more updates!

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