It’s no secret that I’m a big believer in building resilience - both in life, and in business.
If my past challenges and losses have taught me anything, it’s to never take anything for granted, and to expect the unexpected.
When I was inspired to start our business, Poseidon Equine, in 2017, I had no idea how big it would become. It was at first around solving a pain point for myself, or more specifically my horse Cruz, who was struggling with his health. Knowing what I’d learned about gut health, I wondered if helping Cruz with his gut might also help him with his overall health.
It soon became clear that other horse owners had the same point, and that the right ingredients along with education could make a huge difference, and Poseidon Equine was born.
But the path to business success is never a straight line. So, here are some tips on how I’ve brought a resilient mindset to our business journey.
Tip 1: Embrace the unexpected turns.
Business is full of unexpected turns. From startup to growth to scaling will not be a straight path from A to B, even though at times we might wish it was.
The journey will take twists and turns and you will learn along the way what works for you, and what doesn’t. The strategies, resources and skills you needed at the start of the journey may change as you move further along.
Obstacles can appear from nowhere and leave you breathless, at times rudderless. They creep up on you and take you by surprise. But each obstacle is an opportunity to innovate and grow, and every part of the journey will bring you more clarity, so don’t be afraid of new challenges.
Because if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.
Tip 2: Stay open to new ideas.
Resilience in business is keeping an open mind and committing to lifelong learning. It means not holding on to old habits or ideas of: “we’ve always done it this way”.
And this can be challenging. When certain ideas have worked in the past, it’s hard to let go of them, but if they’re no longer effective in your business, it’s time to look for new solutions.
This might mean embracing social media and showing up authentically online, creating communities where you can connect with your customers, or sharing information about your products through on package QR codes, rather than outdated paper brochures.
Staying open to new things will help you build business resilience - not everything will work, but that’s part of the fun.
Listen to podcasts, read books, review websites and keep adding to your toolkit.
Tip 3: Pivot fast.
Sometimes things don’t work out. And that’s ok.
The key is to recognise when something isn’t working, and to ‘pivot fast’. I don’t mean giving up any time things get tough, but recognising when something is really needing to be pushed uphill, and just doesn’t seem to be working.
Rather than getting attached to something that’s failing and exhausting yourself trying to make it work, use it as an opportunity to rethink your approach. Perhaps there isn’t a market for your product right now, or perhaps you need to ask your customers what they want, and change your approach.
Try not to pour all of your energy into doors that keep closing, and look for an open window instead. Sometimes, a closing door is a reminder that it’s just not meant to be.
Tip 4: Partnerships are powerful.
As humans, we’re social creatures by nature, but so often we try to succeed on our own. The same can be said for business.
Many businesses want to keep to themselves and focus only on what they’re doing. But partnerships can be powerful.
Think about it - if you can partner with another business that shares your audience, and come together to offer your customers an educational opportunity or a benefit as a partnership, you could each reach new relevant audiences, and learn from each other along the way.
Stay open to partnership ideas, and be open about how you could support your partners - perhaps it’s as simple as sharing their product in your newsletter, in return for them doing the same for you. Working together is always easier than going it alone.
Tip 5: You don’t have to do it all.
In the early days of a start-up business, you have to wear countless hats. One minute you’re looking after marketing, the next you’re reconciling accounts or tackling product research and development.
But a resilient business approach is to recognise what you do well, and also what you could share with others or delegate to external people.
Trying to do it all isn’t the best use of your time and could lead to burnout. Trust me, I’ve been there! So identify what you could delegate, and recognise the value of what only you can bring to the business. This is where you should focus your energy.
Tip 6: Lead with purpose and the rest will follow.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I get to run businesses with my family, and build something which we can all be proud of.
At the heart of everything is our purpose - we want to help horses and dogs enjoy better lives through the gift of true health at Poseidon Animal Health. And at Saint + Sinner, we’re all about giving people a healthier alternative when they want to have a drink.
Being connected to this purpose has helped us be resilient. When things have been hard, we remember what we’re trying to do and who we’re trying to help.
Having a purpose-led approach means every day I’m genuinely excited about what’s happening in the businesses and the difference we can make. It’s the reason I’ve dedicated a whole chapter of my book Crawling Through the Darkness to exploring resilience.
So tell me, how do you embrace resilience in your business?