Business is, by nature, unstable, and entrepreneurs recognize that dealing with setbacks is just another facet of their job. Entrepreneurs live in a world of constant flux, and things can change on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. If you’ve been in business long enough, you would know failure and disappointment like the back of your hand. Yet entrepreneurs, by virtue of being entrepreneurs, have the gall to get back up and thrive even with this constant barrage of problems, barriers and backtrackings. How do they do it? Join Timothy Bush as he distills the things he learned from his 11-year entrepreneurship journey into a 5-step strategy and learn how you can apply it to your own business.
Listen to the podcast here
How The Entrepreneur Deals With Setbacks In Business: A Five Step Strategy
I hope that you are doing fantastic. I know that it’s weird to say that. Normally, what we would be saying is, “I hope you’re all safe. I hope you’re all well.” That seems to be the new greeting and the new salutation these days. Instead of saying sincerely in an email, it’s, “Be well. Be safe.” We’re in strange and unprecedented times. I live here in Florida and it seems like Florida’s trying its best to be number one in COVID-19 cases, in deaths, in increase. They’re slowly getting their wish. We’re neck and neck with Texas and California. I don’t know necessarily what the answer is other than you are in charge of you. You are in control of you. What you do matters. What you do counts. What you do every day makes a difference.
People watch you. People look at you, what you do, what you say. If it takes us wearing a mask, if it takes us putting on a mask while we’re outside, then that’s what it takes. I have clients that are all over the world, Europe, Lithuania, China, and they’re not afforded the same type of choices that we are. I have a bunch of clients in Australia. Their situation is almost completely gone. Lithuania, gone. The Czech Republic, gone. How did they do that? What’s different about those countries than here? They didn’t give their citizens a choice. They literally had to stay in for months. When they did go out for essentials, they had to wear a mask starting from leaving the front door.
I’m glad that I live in a country where I’m not mandated by the government to stay inside for months on end, but I do believe that we have some personal responsibility to do what we can based on the data, based on the science. If you’re out there thinking that masks don’t work or don’t matter, the science and the data doesn’t support that. No matter what study you read, no matter what information you get ahold of, they all say the same thing. Social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask are the things that are going to make a difference.
Here at the Bush Compound in Florida, I don’t want things to shut down. I don’t want to go back to a stay-at-home order. I don’t want to see more retailers close their doors. What I do want is to live in these times, to live the way we have to live for. If that means I have to wear a mask, wash my hands, and carry around sanitizer, then that’s what I’m going to do. I have people that count on me. I have people that I can’t afford to give it to. That’s what I’m going to do. I hope that you are all doing your part, staying safe, and taking accountability for you and your family. That’s all we can do. I don’t want to be one of those people that yells at somebody in the store, “You don’t have a mask on,” and then find myself on YouTube or Instagram later.
That’s not me, but I am going to make sure I’m not one of the people that everybody’s looking at in the store because they don’t have a mask on. I had to turn around and go back home because I forgot it. I’m not going to go out without it though. I’m not going to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution. I’m going to say this, and I say it as many times as I can. The part of the solution is not shutting down. It’s not closing down. Part of the solution is us doing our part. That is the entire solution. Hold on while I step down off my soapbox, but if I didn’t say something, if I didn’t let you know how I was feeling, then I would feel bad. I would feel bad that I’m not utilizing a little bit of the venue that I have to say, “Come on, people. Let’s get all on the same page. We do not want to crush the economy any more than it already is. Please, do your part.”
As the title said and as of this moment, I don’t know what the title is going to be, but I’m sure it’s going to have something to do with how entrepreneurs handle setbacks. I thought it was an appropriate topic because it seems like setbacks and changes are coming on a daily basis. It’s not a situation where, “I had one setback this year and it threw my year for a loop.” If you’re like me, the setbacks are coming daily, weekly, monthly. We’re finding ourselves in a changing and escalating environment all the time. I put together for myself because I’m an entrepreneur like you. I’m not talking to you from a place of things that I think or I wonder, I read in a book. I have an unstable business that goes up and it comes down. It is affected by outside influence. I do have setbacks. I do have things that don’t go right. I do have disappointments, but I have been in business now with TLB Consulting for eleven years. I’ll be getting ready to crossover into my twelfth year.The first and most difficult thing to do in order to move past any setback is to admit that there is a setback. Click To Tweet
I do have some experience with setbacks and I have created a system for myself on how I deal with those so that it doesn’t crush me. It’s easy to get your hopes up. It’s easy to think that this one thing that you’re going for is going to be the answer to everything. When it doesn’t go your way, it’s crushing. You don’t know whether you’re going to be able to move on. I’ve been there, done that. I wanted to share with you my personal system. I don’t know if I want to call it a system, but I guess it’s a system. It’s a set of things that I go through when something doesn’t go my way in business, even in life and personal. Even in personal, I try to go through these five things when something doesn’t go the way I want it to go. I don’t hide. I don’t crawl up in a ball and rock myself to sleep. I start with these five things and I wanted to share them with you. Maybe they’ll help you. Maybe you’re dealing with some setbacks.
Recognizing, Owning And Learning From The Setback
Maybe you were halfway through the process with a retailer and all of a sudden, they changed their mind and that’s a setback and you’re crushed by it. No matter what the setback is, try employing some of what we’re going to talk about. Number one, and I’m going to have to tell you, this is probably the most difficult thing for me at the beginning when I first started doing this. I’m not one that likes to admit my mistakes. I don’t like to say that I was wrong. I don’t like to say, “This is my doing,” but in order for me to move past any setback, I have to acknowledge that the setback exists. Even before I take accountability for it, I have to say this is a setback. I don’t hide from it, shrink from it, put it out of my mind because that’s not dealing with it. I have to say, “Yes, this is what I wanted to have happen and this is what happened and it is a setback. It is devastating. I didn’t want it to go this way.” That’s the first part of number one.
The second part of number one is I have to take accountability for the result, whatever that result was. This is my business. It’s my company. It has been from day one. There is nobody above me to take accountability for anything that happens in my company, but I can shrink from the accountability. Say it was somebody else’s fault or they didn’t do what they said they were going to do, they didn’t do this, they didn’t do that. “This wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. This is not my fault.” I can say all those things, but in the end, the buck stops with me and I have 150% accountability for everything that happens in my company and that includes setbacks. Number one, I have to acknowledge that the setback exists.
Secondly, I have to take accountability for the result. Something strange happens when you take accountability. When I used to teach sales years and years ago, I used to call this the sun is in my eyes syndrome. The way I came up with that was I had hundreds of stores and I would talk to a sales manager at a store and say, “How are sales going?” “Sales are going okay.” I said, “How many demos did you do? How many presentations?” “I did five.” “How many did you sell?” “Two.” “What happened to the other three?” Constantly, I would get, “They weren’t a good candidate. They didn’t have enough money. They had to talk to their spouse.” It was a litany of different things, but what wasn’t in the litany of things that they were telling me was, “I just didn’t sell it. My demo wasn’t on point. I missed some opportunities to solve some problems,” none of that.
Here’s what happens when you don’t take accountability. You have no accountability to fix it. If it’s not your fault, then it’s not up to you to fix it. “It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything.” If it’s not your fault, then there’s nothing for you to do. If there’s nothing for you to do, you’re going to do it again and again. You have to take accountability for the result and only in taking accountability for the result does it create the opportunity for you to fix what went wrong. Number one, acknowledge that the setback is this. Two, take accountability for the result.
Number two, create a list. I know this is going to seem tedious. Create a list of the lessons learned in this particular setback. Write out what you would do differently next time. There’s a big difference between, “If I had them to do all over again, I would do this or I would do that.” There’s a difference between that and writing it down. These are the things that I learned and start writing those down in your journal and something that you can go back to and then also what you would do differently next time. Here’s something that I have realized over time. They didn’t come to me right away and I didn’t even know technically when it was coming to me. I didn’t realize it and that is I can see things after the setback that I couldn’t see while I was in the middle of it.
When I was in the middle of the pitch and things were going and things are happening and I was in the middle of it, there are certain things I can’t see because I’m blinded by the end result. “I want to get there. I want to close the deal. I want these things to happen. If I could do it, it would change everything.” You’re wrapped up in that, there are certain things you can’t see and maybe things were starting to go wrong and you didn’t see them because you couldn’t. You were too wrapped up. You weren’t detached from the process. You didn’t pull yourself back from the process and look at it from a leadership perspective. “Is everything going the way it should go? Am I doing what I should be doing? Have I followed up the way I need to follow up?” In the post-setback, you’ll be able to see those things. You’ll be able to see the things that you couldn’t see because you didn’t detach. Now, you are detached. You have to be. You’ve already acknowledged that setback exists.
You’ve already taken accountability for the result. Now you’re detached from it and you’re writing down a list of the things that you learned. You’re writing down what you would do differently. I guarantee you you’re going to see things that you simply couldn’t see when you were in the middle of it. I hope you do that. I hope you take that seriously. Write it down. Put it in your journal. If you don’t have a journal, start a journal. I know sometimes the word “journal” makes it sound like you’re writing down your feelings. I’m not talking about that. There has to be a place that you daily, weekly write down what’s going on in your business. What’s happening? If you don’t do that, how does anybody become the next Steve Jobs? You need to be able to look back. How did you get there? If you don’t write it down, if you don’t have a journal, if you’re not keeping track, how are you going to write a book? How are you going to do that?
Number four, and this seems like an epidemic lately. I was as guilty back in the day as anyone, but pivot is not always the answer to a setback. I know a lot of times something goes wrong and we immediately say, “I’ve got to change something. I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to change course. I have to completely change my pitch,” or whatever it is you think that you need to change. That’s not always the answer. Certainly, don’t make those determinations before you do step 1 and 2. Even step three, you’ve got to go through the whole process. Don’t change anything. You’ve got to evaluate it. Fast pivot is not always the answer to why you had a setback or to not have a setback in the future. Trust the course you’re on. Trust those original instincts that you had. Pivot is not always the answer.
Number four, seek guidance. Find a mentor. Find somebody who’s been successfully where you want to go and seek their counsel. “This is what happened. This is what I learned. These are the things I wrote down. This is what I would do differently.” What insight do you have? I have it written down here that when you’re seeking a mentor, when you’re seeking somebody that you can reach out to that you can talk to, look for somebody that is not a mentor based on smarts or what they’ve heard or read. It’s somebody that’s been there. When they’re talking to you about setbacks, that’s not some random foreign thing to them. They can name, “I remember when this happened. I remember that happened. This is how I handled it.”
These five things that I’m giving you, they’re not book-learned that I think might work. This is what I do. This is what I do myself when things don’t go right. If you don’t have a mentor, if you don’t have somebody that’s already been where you want to go now, you’ve got to go find that person. TLB Consulting has a mentorship program. You can go to TLBConsulting.com. Look at some of the reviews on that. If it’s not me, make it somebody that’s been there. You have to be able to reach out and talk to somebody and get some outside perspective. Otherwise, you’re going to be all up in your head and that doesn’t create a good result for you. You’ve got to have somebody that you can share these things with.
The Thing That Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs
Lastly, number five, get back to it. Take ground. I didn’t want to say get back on the horse but get back on the horse. Don’t let too much time go by after you’ve done 1, 2, 3, and 4 before you begin again. Start again. Give it another shot. Go for it. That’s the thing about entrepreneurs. We don’t go down and stay down. We can’t. After several years of being an entrepreneur, I learned a long time ago that entrepreneurs are a certain breed. Not everybody’s set out or cut out to be an entrepreneur. One of the things that we all have in common is we go down and we get right back up.Entrepreneurs can't go down and stay down. They’ve got to get back on the horse and give things another shot. Click To Tweet
Don’t let this setback be the last thing you remember, the last thing that you deal with, the last thing that you ever do. If you go through these steps, you’re going to be ready to start again and do it again and make it better than it was before. Does that mean that you’re not going to have another setback? Absolutely not. You’re going to have setbacks again and again. The goal is to have more wins than you have setbacks. That’s how we move forward. The scale of wins and losses is heavy in the win column. That’s what we’re hoping for. Sometimes you’ve got to go through multiple setbacks to get to the win. I don’t know any book that I’ve ever read about any business success story that doesn’t include a tremendous amount of loss, setbacks, and challenges. They don’t exist.
I did, interestingly enough, and I can’t give you too much detail on this, but at one point I worked for a CEO who was the son of the original owner of the company. This person had led a charmed life. Things had not been too difficult. His dad was rich and he grew up fairly privileged. Now, he was the CEO of this company, but he hadn’t been tested in difficult times and difficult times came and he did not know what to do, how to right the ship in difficult times. He’d certainly knew how to run the company when things were going well, when it was smooth sailing. The second there started to be choppy waters, he didn’t know how to navigate those things.
Eventually, he was taken over by the board of directors and was ousted from his own company. Not because he’s a bad guy, not because he’s not a smart guy, but he had never failed before. He didn’t know what to do when failure started happening. Eventually, he didn’t know how to deal with that. Failure, setbacks are part of what you need to be successful. There are those people that are turnaround specialists. They go into a company and know exactly what to do in a company that’s faltering. Do you think that they read that in a book? Do you think somehow they woke up one day and took a course on how to right the ship? There’s some stuff out there I’m sure on how you can cut costs and this and that.
Ultimately, these people did it. They’ve been through it. They’ve dealt with setbacks and failures and they came out of it, therefore they know how to do it for somebody else. In the climate that we’re in, we’re going to have setbacks. We’re going to have difficulty. We’re going to have things that simply don’t go our way. They can’t define us. They can’t set a course for us. We can’t even let them take a foothold. We have to go through these steps and then put it behind us.
To recap, number one, acknowledge the setback and take accountability for the result. Number two, create a list of lessons learned. When I say create a list, that means write them down. Also write down what you’d do differently next time, remembering that what you can see now is different than what you could see during the actual process. You’re going to be able to see it differently and make sure you note those down. Number three, pivot, changing course, changing your model is not always the answer because you had a setback. Number four, seek guidance, get a mentor. Somebody that you can talk to, even if you talk to them for an hour a month, that is going to make a huge difference in how you see things. Number five, get back to it. Start moving again. Get back on the horse. Take ground. Do not let the setback define you.
I had a whole list of other things that I could have talked about, but I felt strongly for some reason that that’s what I needed to talk about. Maybe there’s somebody out there, maybe you’re out there and you had a setback and this is going to help you move from where you are to where you need to be. That’s my hope for you. My hope is that you’re not afraid of the setbacks. You’re not being timid because there might be a setback. My hope is that you say, “I have a strategy to deal with any setbacks that come my way. Therefore, I am going to move forward. I’m going to take ground. I’m going to take risks. I’m an entrepreneur. It’s because I go down, I’m going to get right back up. Now I have a little bit of a strategy to deal with that. I’m even more prepared. That’s my hope for you.
A couple of announcements as always. On the main page of TLB Consulting, so TLBConsulting.com, scroll down to the bottom. On the left-hand side, there’s a thing that says VIP Experience. I want you to click on that. We are formulating this VIP Experience Group. It’s starting out, but this is access to inside information like you’ve never had. This is access to the things that I’m doing now. I’ll give you an example. Believe me, I did not make this up, but in the middle of our first session, it was a Zoom call. We had maybe 12 or 13 people on there. I received an email from a retail buyer during that live call saying that she wanted to order another twenty containers.
In this group, I’m able to share what’s happening now. What are buyers saying? What does their email say? What does it mean? It’s access like you’ve never had before. It’s not stuff that I share on the show. These are real-time things that are happening. Besides that, the group is dynamic. Everybody in the group is trying to get their products into retail. We’re helping each other. We’re taking the time to hot seat issues and solve problems and ultimately teach you, help you get your products on the shelf of retailers. It’s still happening. COVID-19 or not, we’re selling products now. I’m asking you, it’s only $19 a month. I made it super cheap.
You’re spending more than that on Starbucks. I guarantee it, but you’re going to get way more out of this. We have a special Basecamp project dedicated right to it. Trying to keep ourselves out of Facebook. Everybody’s got a Facebook group, so I created a Basecamp instead. We want you to be there. We want you to be part of this. TLBConsulting.com, on the homepage scroll down. It’s on the left-hand side. You can’t miss. It says big VIP on it. Click on that and then sign up. You’re going to be glad you did. That’s all I have for you. I hope that you’re well. I hope that your family is well. I hope that you’re taking ground. I hope that things are going the way that you want them to go. If they’re not, if you’ve had a setback, try these five things. Let me know how it goes. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing your products on the shelf.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the On The Shelf community today: