Being in business when times are good can be incredibly fun and fulfilling. However, nothing in this earthly world is permanent. As a result, everything can change, and everything will change. Successful people prepare for success. Successful people also prepare to face and overcome less-than-ideal circumstances.
A prime example of business challenges has presented itself to our region’s farmers this spring. This year’s perfect storm of unceasingly wet weather, depressed commodity prices and overall uncertainty are moving many farmers from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C and so forth.
When the plan may fail, it is crucial to engage in three major endeavors.
First, do not bury your head in the sand. We all love to win. With that being said, nobody wins at everything. Simple denial in the face of challenges has about the same likelihood of success as counting on winning the lottery to pay bills.
Identifying challenges does not make those challenges more likely. Someone who prepares his or her last will and testament is no more statistically likely to die than a person who fails to prepare that document. Similarly, we sometimes irrationally think that acknowledging a professional challenge will make it more likely to occur, even though that is not true.
While not burying your head in the sand, keep perspective and do not perpetually dwell on the challenge. Keeping perspective helps us to avoid letting solution-seeking turn to worry. Remember that failing personally, professionally or in entrepreneurship, although humbling, is always better than losing a loved one to cancer or seeing a child suffer.
Second, be proactive and begin contingency planning early. If we avoid burying our heads in the sand, we almost always can identify challenges before those challenges become crises. If we see a challenge coming, we can be much better prepared to overcome that challenge.
We would never go on a trip without checking the weather of our anticipated destination before we leave. If we get to our destination without the proper clothes, our options are much more limited than if we had prepared in advance.
Unfortunately, people often wait until the last minute to address professional challenges. At the last minute, the possible solutions to a problem can be either very limited or non-existent.
Clients who approach me for help after they have sold every asset they have, have borrowed from every relative and credit card company and are several months behind on every bill have fewer options than someone who approaches me for help before every option has been exhausted.
Third, be open-minded and accept help. Even the thought of failure can sometimes be humiliating, and we can feel alone when we face professional challenges. Being open to suggestions can make challenges seem less overwhelming and position challenges to be less impactful. Seek and accept suggestions from experienced family and other professionals and gratefully acknowledge their contributions to your success. Early embarrassment among those who can help us beats going it alone and finding ourselves unable to pull out a win.
Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.