Challenges and Opportunities: 4KTA

Date:   Wednesday , April 09, 2014

As an entrepreneur, creating your own roadmap for success can be a seductive dream resulting in bliss and happiness. The entrepreneurial success and the examples of success are one of the most talked about subjects in the entrepreneurial world. For instance, the acquisition of Whatsapp messaging mobile app by Facebook recently for a gigantic and unfathomable amount has drawn perhaps more articles and talks than anything that you may come across. This is the dream of any entrepreneur to create a service or product that can result in a mega success, not only in monetary value but also, in rapidly growing user base to a tune of multi-hundred millions globally. However, what quite often overlooked is how to handle the challenges that you run into; how do you make those tough decisions about how to stay relevant in the marketplace; when to take on more debt; when to cut costs including reduction of your talented team that you have painstakingly built one at a time or how to handle a completely unexpected economic downturn due to some natural disaster that may occur. It is never smooth sailing, so learning to thrive, staying upbeat and continuing to grow in difficult situations are essentials to your success. This can be seen as opportunity to reflect upon and correct your course or challenges that you may feel bogged down with and stress over to find ways to get out of the hole. Here are four key take away (4KTA) points based upon my own experiences, my own challenges and opportunities, should you run into these situations.

Higher Purpose

Entrepreneurs and innovators in general are happily self directed people. Having a big idea with a noble purpose can keep you think differently and beyond current challenges to imagine a more appealing future. This can keep you going during challenging times. For instance, in my last month\'s article on True Passion, Dr. Sarvajna Dwivedi, Founder of Pearl Therapeutics, talked about how he and his team kept on going despite some tough times including financial meltdown in market, technical delays due to one simple noble purpose of bringing breathing relief to millions of patients and improving their lives globally with their product. Having a higher purpose like this can also lift your spirits and inspire talented people to join your team.

Pay Attention to Your Gut

It is easy to fall prey to negativity when the going gets tough. At the same time, it is very hard and lonely at the top as CEO and Founder. When entrepreneurs push emotional or professional challenges under the rug, those unaddressed feelings can plant a seed of self-doubt leading to low confidence, self-comparison, and diminished faith in your ability to handle future challenges. It can turn into a complex and a toxic combination.

On the other hand, if you address these challenges, you can begin to flourish. As someone said, challenges create the opportunity for massive growth in a short period of time. The question arises how you go about handling it. Personally, I have used meditation and yoga centric breathing exercises to alleviate the stress level during these challenging times and create a feeling of tranquility within me. It has become a regular habit for me now.

Secondly, pay attention to your gut rather than listening to all the noise being generated from all over. As an entrepreneur, you begin your journey with a strong desire and inner faith in you to succeed no matter what it takes. This belief in itself can go a long way and can help you assess the situation, find new ways and directions to take and eventually bring you the success you deserve. Every entrepreneur faces constant struggles, and problems arise when fear and self-doubt take over.

To prevent that from happening, be mindful of your emotional state and do some daily activities that can take your mind off the negative spiral. If you can really pay attention to your fears, your inner state and deal with it, then you can be so much more effective. Keep asking yourself what else can be done proactively to really make the best out of the situation you are in. For instance, there were times during my first company, whenever I\'d feel overwhelmed with all the startup pressure and stress, I held on to my belief that we would succeed and nothing would deter me from it.

Re-invent and Embrace Flexibility

The good part about these challenging situations is that they demand change, so this is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to adapt and reinvent himself in order to persevere. This means making significant changes to your business or to your team including your own leadership style. Staying course on your end goal requires embracing flexibility. Focusing on end goal detaches yourself and allows you more freedom to explore different pathways to the same end. This ability to adapt and reinvent yourself unleashes your greatest potential empowering you to overcome any challenge and come out winning despite how hard it was. Your mission and the passion you have for your work will come handy during these tough times.

Step Up

Your ability as a tough entrepreneur will continually be tested. It is this ability to step up by staying laser focused on your mission; by inspiring your team to keep up the strength to succeed and prepare for the future by confronting it head on will lead you to your desired outcome. You will notice that highly successful entrepreneurs know that only dead fish swim with the current. You need to work harder to get through trying times, searching for more creative solutions and inspiring your team to stay engaged. Take some time to pause, think and reflect fully before you act on your decisions.

In summary, the four key take away points are having a higher purpose, paying attention to your gut, re-inventing and embracing flexibility and stepping up during these phases of challenges and opportunities in your entrepreneurial journey.

The author is Co-Founder of AURISS TECHNOLOGIES INC., a serial entrepreneur and Board Member, Chair, Programs, The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE) organization, based in Silicon Valley, California.

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