Attention, entrepreneurs: Challenges are there to help you raise your game

When it comes to building your business, redesigning your brand or entering into a partnership with another entrepreneur, the process will not be free of challenges. It’s vital to keep this in mind from the outset and, more importantly, to expect the unexpected.

Sometimes it does not matter how much you prepare, things can come up that push back your deadline, shift your process or perhaps lead you to rethink your business altogether.

I recently helped a client with the branding of a food & beverage business that was not exclusive to the UAE, but set to be launched simultaneously across the Gulf. Everything was planned and ready. Then just a few days before the launch, she was presented with a challenge that completely changed the course of her business plan. She later joined forces with another entrepreneur to launch her products.

Things like this happen all the time, even when you have everything set up and are only weeks away from the big launch. It is human nature to seek the easy way out of everything. If presented with options, most of us would seek the simple road. Yes, you might sleep better at night and your skills may be enhanced but would you grow?

Change your perspective and you will see how challenges are a great educational opportunity. I personally have learnt enormously by challenging clients and situations. I have them to thank for enhancing my problem-solving skills when I was presented with problems that emerged as a result of dealing with them, working under pressure, and broadening my creativity.

Here’s how to keep your cool and relieve stress when unexpected challenges arise:

• The solution is already out there

You are most likely not the first to be facing such a challenge. An entrepreneur you know must have gone through the same thing. If you know people in the industry, take some time to meet them and seek their advice. If you have a mentor, then turn to that person now. Alternatively, do your research. A simple search online often presents multiple answers. If you are uncomfortable discussing your personal challenges, do so anonymously in the countless online business forums, where entrepreneurs meet to discuss related topics. If you have a role model in your field, like a successful businessperson who has a blog or published some books, then read that as well. You will relate to them and also learn from their experience, and apply their tips to your business.

• It is not really as hopeless as it seems

Sometimes it seems the only solution is to get on a plane and leave all this behind. Perhaps you are wondering why you even started this business. Maybe your public sector job was not such a bad idea. It is fine. It is normal. The thing is, no matter how hopeless your situation is, there is a way out of it, but you may need to be more open to it. Perhaps you are expecting the solution to emerge from one channel, but not any other. Keep an open mind and look for answers in places you did not consider looking into before.

• Do not bury your head in the sand, get out

When an entrepreneur friend of mine faced a problem, she would lock herself in her office trying to find the solution. From experience, that never serves you well. When it all feels too much, just leave it and go off and do something you enjoy. Seek out members of your network for a coffee and talk about the issue. You could be surprised at how fast you can find a way around the problem if you just move faster and seek the advice of others.

Last but not least, remember your mental state and energy levels will affect any issues you face. Instead of thinking the situation is impossible, change your position and believe there is an answer. From there, you will find it. You will be surprised at how different solutions will surface once you put yourself in the right mindset.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

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Manar Al Hinai

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