We have a backyard full of bunnies who freely help themselves to our Hosta’s. I like to watch their reaction when I let my little dogs loose. As we all know, bunnies aren’t fighters, so they typically choose to run when faced with a fight-or -flight decision. But sometimes they choose a third option; freeze in place, hunker down and wait for the threat to pass.
I picture those bunnies when I think about how some business owners react to economic uncertainty. It seems the strategy is to hunker down and hope that the uncertainty passes and leaves them unnoticed and unharmed.
In business terms, this may mean delaying investments in things like new hires, technology, products, or equipment and putting off important decisions about strategy and goals until the future seems clearer, and maybe even more favorable. A sort of paralysis, where the goal is for nothing bad to happen, but may mean that nothing good happens either.
In the book Thrive, Meredith Elliott Powell talks about turning periods of uncertainty into an opportunity. She suggests that disruptions such as supply chain issues, pending recession, and talent shortages should be considered catalysts for opportunity, and she walks through 9 actions that business owners and leaders can take during periods of change and uncertainty that may fuel growth.
Fueling growth is a shift in perspective that assists in replacing fear with excitement. Where fight-or-flight, or-freeze, can make us feel like victims of circumstance, fueling growth is powerful.
Where to start
- Renew your growth mindset A growth mindset means believing in your ability to learn and improve. Instead of viewing challenges as roadblocks, see them as opportunities for growth and learning. As Carol Dweck notes in her book Mindset, “This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
- Seek new perspectives. Sometimes we become too focused on a particular way of thinking or doing things. Engage in conversations with trusted advisors and peer groups and others who may offer diversity of thought. Open your mind to new possibilities and ideas.
- Embrace change by taking risks. Entrepreneurs are natural risk takers. Hunkering down may be a sign that you’ve become too comfortable or resistant to change. Growth often involves stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Remember, change and uncertainty are not intrinsically bad things. Leaning in with a new mindset that is focused on looking for opportunities to fuel growth, vs hiding and hoping for the best may set your business ahead of the rest and will most certainly build you up to be a stronger leader for the future.
Integrated Consulting Services is the Chief Financial Officer for small business. We build financial and cash flow models, provide financial leadership and strategy, assist with month end processes, connect to outside resources, and act as a confidant and sounding board to small business owners. To learn more, contact email@example.com