Step Up After a Setback

Wouldn’t it be great if enthusiasm and passion could protect us from failure? Eventually, it happens to every entrepreneur—a setback. Maybe a new product line didn’t sell, or perhaps an emergency drained your cash reserves. Before you can step up after a setback you must accept that missteps, mistakes and messiness are part of the entrepreneur experience. This is especially important for many women entrepreneurs who tend to let perfectionist or people pleasing tendencies lead them to unrealistic standards and harsh self-judgments.

If you already have a mentor, now is the time to reconnect with them. If you don’t have a mentor yet, you can begin the search for one. Take advantage of technology as online networks and entrepreneur forums devote a lot of space to “lessons learned” kinds of stories. A different perspective may help to unearth problems and solutions you’ve failed to notice. Be on the lookout for some of the classic setback situations:

  • Natural disaster, economic meltdowns, and other things totally beyond your control: in these situations don’t waste valuable energy brooding over what’s happened, but instead focus on how you plan to react and recover as this is the only part where you have control.
  • Selling a product, service or solution the public didn’t want: if you fall in love with your idea to the extent that you neglect or ignore market information, setbacks are inevitable. Make a commitment to gather and use customer feedback.
  • Trend timing issues: unless you’ve got the cash reserves and infrastructure to move quickly, stick to your long-term objectives and avoid trying to cash in on a fad. Keep your ultimate goals and vision in mind at all times.

Setbacks provide us with the perfect “excuse” to review, reorganize and revamp our businesses, and step up for more success. Talking with your mentor, or a mastermind group, can provide you with the emotional distance you need to shift from disappointment to problem solving mode during this time.


Karen Southall Watts

Karen Southall Watts is a freelance trainer, coach and author, living in Vancouver, BC. In 2005, Karen Southall Watts drove cross country from North Carolina to the West Coast to begin a new phase of her life. Working in adult education and business training since 1999, Karen is known for her interactive workshops and down to earth talks on business topics. She is the author of Messenger: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Communication, published in July 2015 by Motivational Press. Learn more here: Connect with her on Twitter @AskKaren

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