Lessons in resilience: how small-business leaders can achieve success in trying times

SME recovery
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2020 has been a challenging year for most small-business owners and leaders. The implications the pandemic brings has challenged business leaders to rewire their norm, be more agile and resilient than ever.

But what does it really mean to be resilient? At its core, resilient means being “able to quickly return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched, or pressed”. It is being able to overcome challenges, obstacles and adversity thrown your way and coming through the other side, stronger.

As we look forward to the new year, resilience is the quality that was highlighted most during 2020 and will be the quality that conveys us forward into 2021.

1. Set manageable goals and targets

Setting manageable goals is not only about being realistic about what you want, but also being able to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone. Throughout my life, I have had many challenges, missed opportunities, and bad swims. Don’t let the challenges bring you down, things can get better. As long as you have a purpose and believe in what you are doing and what your business can offer, focus on your goals no matter what.

2. Understand your tools for success

To be your own version of success, you need to create different tools to get there, whether this is by learning, acquiring or creating. These tools allow you to triumph over tough times and learn how to be your very best in your business. When you identify a need for some extra work to smooth off your rough edges, you are putting yourself in a much better position to achieve what you want next time you have an opportunity. Once you know what tools you need, you’re one step closer to acquiring them and one step closer to achieving your goal.

3. Create your inner action plan

Continuous improvement is pivotal for business survival. Breaking down your goal to small actions will help you set a more thorough action plan to guide you towards achieving your long-term goal. 

4. Create your inner circle

We learn from those around us to be better than we are. Create an inner circle of people that can lift you up higher than you are today. Place emphasis on getting the right team that will bring positive and valuable impact to your business.

5. Engage your inner circle

Engaging with those around you is key to expanding your knowledge and skills to a higher level. It is through learning from each other that you and your team can keep improving and bring the business to reach new heights.

6. Strategise for success

Success is about having the inner belief that we can achieve the goals we have set in mind. It is through the experiences we gained that we learn the skillset and people we need to achieve success. The power of your mind is key to how you go about this. If you believe, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

7. Stay focused

The final step is to stay focused on the path and vision for your business. It may seem challenging or even impossible at times, but it is by staying focused on your goal and having the mindset to believe in the process despite the challenges thrown at you that you demonstrate resilience. 

It is ubiquitous for small businesses to resist change, whether it’s in the form of crisis or challenges. However, change is inevitable, and by cultivating the attribute of resilience, small businesses can learn how to grow and thrive beyond circumstances. 

Matt Levy, author of “Keeping your head above water”