What can business owners do when they are met with an obstacle they feel too powerless to face? On this episode of The Small Business Show, Alan Weiss, business coach, speaker and New York Times best-selling author, joins host Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss how entrepreneurs overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Using his recent book, “Sentient Strategy,” Weiss offers key insights into the ways successful leaders develop plans during times of economic headwinds.
Weiss makes an important distinction between our feelings of powerlessness and our actual ability to overcome obstacles. He explains that when a business owner feels internally powerless, they become incapable of addressing their challenges, and only seek to survive. On the other hand, when a leader is confident in their strengths, they can almost always find ways to mitigate issues and thrive in any circumstance. For example, when a company finds itself in trouble with the IRS, an ineffectual entrepreneur will be unable to protect their business, since they believe there is no point in trying to fight the powerful government agency. Meanwhile, an effective business owner will look for ways to alleviate damages through strong legal representation, thorough accounting and negotiations, and simultaneously modify their business plans to avoid any disruption to growth.
What sets the effective leaders apart from the ineffective? Weiss explains that one of the biggest differences is each group’s resilience in the face of challenge. Powerless business owners will ultimately fail to recoup any losses they suffer, since their priority lies in survival rather than thriving. On the other hand, confident entrepreneurs will come back from challenging times stronger than ever, since they focus on strategies which achieve growth regardless of their businesses’ environment. “Resilience is about bouncing forwards, it’s not about bouncing back,” he remarks.
For readers of “Sentient Strategy,” Weiss hopes their main takeaway is that successful business plans are simple. “…Strategy is not convoluted and complicated,” he explains, but rather “about what you want to become.” It is a straightforward solution based on the company’s past, and its goals for the future. “You have to identify ‘why are we here’…and then what should we look like,” Weiss clarifies. “If you can confine yourself to that…the ‘how’ will occur later.”