Three ways entrepreneurs approach obstacles and turn them into opportunities

trailblazer, challenges

Entrepreneurs have a reputation for being fearless. But how do they make decisions that others wouldn’t even dream of?

The truth is that entrepreneurs approach obstacles in ways that most people don’t even consider, and those approaches usually lead to success where others would see failure or rejection. While this calculated risk-taker approach often pays off, when faced with failure they’re business chameleons, pivoting and changing to adapt to the environment or situation. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

One in five businesses fail in their first year and around 60 per cent will go bust within their first three years. The average successful founder, therefore, has a string of failed ventures behind them that have informed their growth and approach.

Here are three ways entrepreneurs approach failure:

1. Fail-forward

This is the entrepreneur who knows that failure is a necessary and inevitable part of the founder process. They understand that learning from mistakes and picking up the pieces of failed projects is essential to growth and success, so they don’t get too bogged down in negativity. This person learns from his or her own failures, but also takes time to learn from others’ mistakes as well.

2. Rejection is redirection

Rejection in business isn’t always personal. Often it may be an opportunity to re-evaluate one aspect that needs changing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs who embrace rejection as a necessary part of their journey are the ones who will ultimately succeed.

Here’s how it works: when someone says no to your idea or product, instead of considering this as an end-all answer (which it isn’t), consider it as a sign that there may be something wrong with your idea, product or approach. You should then do some research about what other similar businesses have done in order to make sure that your idea isn’t completely off track and that you’re offering something there is genuine need or demand for in the market.

3. Expect the unexpected

Change is inevitable and always going to happen at the most inconvenient of times. Having lived through these ‘unprecedented times’ we know life can throw the most unexpected curveballs. Those who accept that change, disruption and unexpected events as part of life know that they offer opportunities for growth and transformation.
The amount of innovation and resilience and ability to bounce back from difficult situations through the pandemic has been inspiring.

These entrepreneurs are flexible leaders who value collaboration over competition; they recognise that everyone has something unique to contribute. When faced with challenges, these entrepreneurs don’t get lost in their own headspace. Instead, they ask for help from others around them or even take a break from the situation altogether until they’ve had time to reflect on its meaning (and what steps need to be taken next). One great example is Entrepreneurs’ Organisation member business Sketch & Etch, a unique signage and stationary business operating in the wedding and events industry (among the hardest hit industries during lockdowns). After losing 80 per cent of revenue in the first few months of the pandemic they pivoted their focus to their neon signs and entering new markets, ultimately increasing the business by 700 per cent in just 10 months.

Entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of obstacles; they simply approach them differently.

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed. They have the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities, and that’s exactly what we think is most important for entrepreneurs to do. The way you approach obstacles will determine your success as an entrepreneur, and it’s not just about having a positive attitude or simply being optimistic about what lies ahead. It’s also about learning from past mistakes and accepting failure as part of the journey toward success.