My own company is in a crisis right now… a real crisis with tough decisions to make, sleepless nights to endure and an impending sense of doom that is like a nasty hangover. A bit of bad luck, bad timing, some strategic mistakes and a global financial crisis have all combined into a witch’s brew of a startup company cash-flow mess. The squeeze we have gotten ourselves into is not all that uncommon for most small business leaders and entrepreneurs. A friend said “just get used to it… the bigger your business, the higher the stakes and the smaller your odds of survival”. Thanks for the depressing thought.
Now before you all start to worry that I am about to throw in the towel, shipwreck the business and go take a job flipping hamburgers at McDonalds, just relax for a moment. I am attacking this situation head-on because…
A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste.
A crisis arises in the first place because something needs to change, just like a forest fire is necessary every now and then to give room for new growth. My company is in crisis because we should have made some big changes earlier. We should have seen the smoke signals. We should have been checking the pulse a little more often. We should have seen the problems coming and reacted rapidly and decisively. But we didn’t and now we have to endure a crisis. Not a pretty sight, but unfortunately a necessary reality.
Wasting a crisis would mean simply solving the short-term problem and not the underlying strategic flaws. Wasting a crisis would mean failing to do a gut-wrenching self-analysis and honest evaluation. Wasting a crisis would be failing to stand naked in front of a mirror and taking an honest appraisal of what you see (OK, that might be a tasteless metaphor, but I think you get the picture…).
The good news is that I am 100% certain that after we solve our problem – after we are on the other side of these current challenges – then we will be able to grow and expand the company even faster and stronger than before. A crisis is a huge opportunity for your small business and for your own personal development as an entrepreneur… depending on how you handle it.
Don’t miss the opportunity. If you expect to succeed as an entrepreneur, then this is part of the prerequisite learning. In my next few blog entries I will talk about the opportunities of a crisis – both as it applies to me and my own business and in general, as it applies to all small startups and to our global economic situation.
Do you have a story about how a crisis has led to growth or a breakthrough for your company? Write to me and share your stories.