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Foolproof Steps to Help Your Business Bounce Back from a Major Setback


Foolproof Steps to Help Your Business Bounce Back from a Major Setback

By Michael Deane – Contributing Writer for Inland Empire Business Journal

According to a study by the U.S. Small Business Administration, about half of small businesses cease operation within 5 years. Entrepreneurship is an unpredictable journey. No matter how hard you work, you can expect to encounter a few setbacks.

It can be a major flaw in the manufacturing process, the loss of a big client, or a great economic disturbance such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What you do to deal with setbacks is what will define you as an entrepreneur.

So, to find success, first you need to push past the disappointment. Here are a few steps you can take to help your business recover from a major setback.

Stay Calm and Acknowledge the Problem

To help your business prevail, you need to keep a cool head. Usually, our first instinct is to panic when something goes wrong.

But, when you have employees that look to you for leadership and direction, it is even more important to keep a cool head. If you take the next steps calmly, your odds of success will increase.

If the setback is caused by a business mistake, it is key to own up to it. You will only make matters worse if you let your pride get in the way or if you go into denial. You should take responsibility, and you should also avoid blaming others or yourself for the setback.

Put The Problem Into Perspective

Don’t allow yourself to go into “the sky is falling” mode and start blowing problems out of proportion. Not every setback you encounter will put you in a grave situation.

In the grand scheme of things, how significant is the predicament? Is it a legal issue? Is it a brand image problem caused by product flow?

Is it a financial issue caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic? If so, take a moment to realize how many people are going through the same situation and find out if your government is offering any COVID support you can take advantage of.

Before you jump into crisis mode, try to evaluate the impact of the setback.

Put Effort Into Determining What Went Wrong

Before you can fix the problem, you need to determine what caused the setback. This requires objective evaluation.

Did your team fail to do enough market research? Was it because your customer service reps didn’t know how to handle the situation? Was it due to unclear language in your agreement with a client?

To ensure it doesn’t happen again, start laying out what you can change. For instance, if your contact center cannot handle increased call volumes caused by the lockdown, you may find a call deflection bot to be the best solution.

You may need to enlist the help of a professional or a company that specializes in certain business disciplines, such as PR, HR, taxes, finances, law, etc. When you determine the cause of the setback, you need to come up with a clear plan for what you need to do differently.

Reach Out to Trusted Advisors

When the going gets tough, don’t hesitate to ask others for advice and help. No matter the setback, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Look for a trusted advisor who can offer you some support, insight, and guidance.

You can connect with a business coach or a mentor, such as a SCORE mentor. You can also look for a business owner who has experienced a similar problem.

Whatever difficulties you are facing as a business owner, you can rest assured that there’s a seasoned entrepreneur out there who has suffered through the same setback. Talk through your problems with someone who knows what it takes to overcome such issues.

Embrace It as a Learning Moment

Setbacks in business may benefit you in the long run—as devastating as they might be. Consider the wise words of Malcolm Forbes, “Failure is success if we learn from it.” To improve your business, you need to look beyond the dismay.

Embrace the experience as a learning moment. For instance, the loss of an important customer may lead to a new customer loyalty program that will improve customer retention.

If the setback is caused by a bad hiring choice, it may lead you to realize that you need to improve your candidate vetting process.

Reset Your Vision

A setback is a comma, not a period. You can easily get off track when you are going at a rapid speed.

When a slowdown occurs, it is a great time to re-evaluate your vision and revisit your mission statement. The setback gives you that coma, the pause you can use to achieve this.

Why did you start your business? What do you want to accomplish moving forward? Business owners change and grow, and so do markets.

The problem is, their businesses often run on old ideas. This is a great chance to determine what you want to achieve long-term.

Celebrate Small Wins

Create small wins for yourself. This will help you regain momentum. But, don’t attach the win to the results of your actions. The steps you take are a win in themselves.

Non-judgement is the best way to face difficulties in business. It’s easy to get emotionally-tied to your entrepreneurial journey.

But you can prevent this if you avoid thinking of setbacks as failing or losing. You will emerge even stronger if you take advantage of the downtime.


Michael is a contributing writer for the Inland Empire Business Journal. He has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.

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Michael Deane
Michael is a contributing writer for the Inland Empire Business Journal. He has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has recently rediscovered a passion for writing.