Uncertainty may be pervasive, but it’s not your friend.
4 min read
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Crisis is one of the most unlikely times for an entrepreneur to transform. When there’s a shutdown, as now, it can feel impossible. Yet for those willing to venture toward uncertainty, there’s a bounty of opportunity hidden within the chaos of pandemics, mandatory closures and economic uncertainty. Here are three power-packed ways to transform your business into an empire, regardless of the turbulent environment around you.
Related: Make an Empire, Not a Business
1. Make up your mind
Most entrepreneurs fail when they fail to make up their minds, and there’s plenty of research to back it up. In fact, decision making is one of the most important skills in an entrepreneur’s toolkit. If you can’t decide on a course of action without equivocating, you are less likely to own the decision and the consequences of making it.
Pandemics and government mandates have a way of making us feel like circumstances are beyond our control. But those situations are really not much different than a vendor who doesn’t pay your invoice or an employee who quits without notice. Uncertainty is pervasive in the entrepreneurial journey. If you conclude that decisions are beyond your control, you are much more likely to fail. To overcome that feeling means you must start making decisions even when you have no control. It’s the process and discipline of making assertive decisions that fosters a winning perspective. This skill is priceless during chaos.
2. Pay attention to inflection points
Every business presumably has a mission, but what happens to that mission when chaos occurs? For most entrepreneurs, the options are to buckle down and weather the storm or thrown in the towel. Only the most adept entrepreneurs understand the value of paying attention to inflection points and pivoting accordingly. If you can develop the skill of identifying and moving with inflection points, you will set yourself up for success even when things are beyond your control.
Inflection points are everywhere, in every industry and every space, and they allow for innovation, disruption and progress. When we pay attention to them, we see opportunity evolve in front of our eyes, even during a crisis. Apparel companies start making masks, car companies start making ventilators and cleaning crews start sanitizing. Inflection points enable businesses to leverage core strengths, maintain core missions and grow, even when the world seems to be falling apart. What are the inflection points surrounding your business and industry? If you can’t see any, you need to take a closer look.
3. Favor discipline over instinct
During crisis, our instincts often undermine our discipline. Fight or flight is the dominant instinct in nearly all circumstances, because that’s how people have survived for all of humanity. This is primarily because the fight or flight paradox stems from circumstances loaded with anxiety and fear. In a business crisis, however, there’s an opportunity to yield to discipline instead of instinct. Doing so also increases our possibility of controlling — and overcoming — chaotic circumstances.
Jocko Willink, former Navy Seal and author of Extreme Ownership, says we should do things “we don’t want to do” on a regular basis, because discipline equals freedom. Discipline creates a pathway built on ownership of the process rather than an instinct generated through fear and anxiety. In business, this approach is invaluable. The more we train ourselves to deal with uncertainty, the more that uncertainty becomes familiar. The more familiar we are with uncertainty, the more likely we are to make smart, effective decisions in the middle of absolute mayhem. How are you developing your self-discipline muscle? If you find yourself going with the flow during crisis, it may be a sign that you need to turn around and start swimming against the current.
Transformation is essential to business growth and longevity, and seasons of crisis present massive opportunities to transform. Implement these three techniques during any crisis and you are certain to see meaningful results.