As Obstacles Mount, How Small Businesses Survive

With high inflation and widespread economic uncertainty confronting the nation, small business owners have concerns similar to consumers. Add continuing supply chain issues and labor shortages, and there are plenty of worries that can keep entrepreneurs up at night.

But the good news is that, according to a survey, many small business owners have shown the resilience to face, adjust to and overcome these challenges that proliferated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are finding new supply sources, increasing wages and training to retain top employees, reducing expenses and reevaluating pricing. Taking such actions reflects the resilience, flexibility and problem-solving that are required to weather the storms in business – and help owners prepare better for future turbulent times, says James Webb (www.jamesharoldwebb.com), a successful entrepreneur in the medical and fitness sectors and author of A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity.

“The pandemic has posed a serious test for small business owners, forcing some to shut down and many to pivot,” Webb says. “Having resilience is a huge factor that separates those who have succeeded in overcoming the challenges from those who haven’t.

“Resilience is the most important thing in life and in business. It is the key ingredient of success that will never let you down.”

Webb offers three tips on how small business owners can show resilience in the face of challenges:

  • Don’t fear taking leaps and choosing new landings. This approach involves a business owner reimagining their company and taking calculated risks. Webb says it’s a necessity now given changing consumer habits, such as more online shopping. That company reimagination could also mean re-assessing current products and services, determining which should be removed or changed, seeing market voids and innovating. “When certain obstacles arise, other pathways and opportunities are presented,” he says. “You can stay the course to your company’s demise, or you can lift your head to seek further horizons and re-energize your employees and your company.”
  • Lead with clarity, provide guidance and incentives, but don’t be afraid to terminate. Webb says weeding out underperforming employees is essential, as is hiring people who can cover the owner’s shortfalls. “You have to know your strengths and weaknesses as well as everyone else’s,” he says. “Create clarity for those you manage. Management is a service, not a power play. Provide people with the best possible chance to succeed by ensuring they are in the right job, make the objectives crystal clear, support their needs and reward them for a job well done. But if people are in the wrong job or unable to meet objectives, or if they’re unable or unwilling to move into another or expanded role, you owe it to them and your company’s survival to set them free.”
  • Trust your gut and keep moving forward. Webb says disappointments, failures, big changes and sacrifices all build resilience, and the combination of those experiences can strengthen a business owner and create more confidence in decision-making for the long run. “Endurance is an essential element of resilience,” Webb says. “Persevere. Learn from your mistakes and trust what you know. Going with your gut is a popular phrase, but it makes more sense to do so when you’ve acquired the experience – good and bad -– to trust your instincts and your knowledge.”

“Resilient people find a way of working things out,” Webb says. “They don’t sit around and complain and hope that their complaining leads to results. They roll up their sleeves and make something good out of a bad situation.

About James Harold Webb

James Harold Webb (www.jamesharoldwebb.com) is the author of Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity. His career in radiology saw him rise from a technologist to becoming a leader in the industry as the entrepreneur of several companies focused on outpatient medical imaging, pain management and laboratory services. In 2014, Webb turned his attention to the fitness sector and developed, owned and oversaw the management of 33 Orangetheory Fitness® franchises throughout North Texas. They were all sold to a private equity group in 2019. He currently owns the franchise rights for Dallas and Austin for BeBalanced Centers, a homeopathic hormone weight-loss franchise. His team has three stores open with plans for another 10 to 12  over the next four years.

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