How to Deal with Business Setbacks


Whether you are a new business owner or a seasoned veteran, if you own a business, you will deal with setbacks. There’s no question of if, only of when. And when you do face setbacks, how you handle them will determine how quickly your business rebounds. It will also shed new light on your business’ ethos and who you are as a leader. Employees, clients, and even competitors will be watching how you handle things. Implode and fall to pieces, whine and kick your feet, panic and make rash decisions: these things will send the wrong message to everyone watching and will ultimately harm your business.

You don’t want that, and we don’t want that. So read on for our best suggestions of how to deal with business setbacks.

  1. Define the setback. Before you can do anything to address a business setback, you first need to acknowledge one even exists, regardless how dire it might seem. No burying your head in the sand while the problem only gets bigger. Face the setback, and face it in all of its unpleasant reality. If your new email marketing campaign has not only failed but inadvertently offended your target consumer base along the way, you need to assess exactly what went wrong as well as the damage done. If your website has been hacked and consumer credit card data stolen, you’ll need to get accurate info on how the security breach happened, how extensive the data theft, and what the fallout with consumers will be. Only a clear-eyed assessment of the setback will allow you to see the way forward.
  2. Put together a clean-up team. The worst thing you can do as a business owner is try to steer the ship by yourself in the wake of a setback. It might be obvious to you that you’ll need to pull that offensive ad campaign. And it might be obvious to you that you need to invest in better web security measures if your website has been getting hacked. But what to do about the offense already given? What web security solution is the right one?

You’ll need help, a team, one made up of your best and most trusted minds. They must be privy to all relevant information; hold back nothing. They’ll help you define the setback as well as propose solutions. Depending on the exact nature of the setback, you might need to bring in outside help, be it legal, marketing consulting, etc. The important thing here is to consult a variety of perspectives and make the most informed and reasonable decision possible about how to move forward. They’ll help you craft your business’s official apology or help you choose something like Sitelock DDoS protection for web security.

  1. Conduct a cost-analysis. More often than not, setbacks take a financial toll, often due to a decreased revenue stream and the various costs required to deal with the setback. Can your company weather the financial storm while maintaining the status quo? If not, some hard decisions await. But before you jump up to the chopping block and start laying off employees—something that could ultimately prove more harmful than beneficial—you and your team will want to thoroughly investigate all other option for cutting costs. Can you cut back inventory or renegotiate fees you pay for various services? You just might find that, until your setback, you weren’t running a tight financial ship.
  2. Put everything into action. You might not have the luxury to spend months crafting a perfect strategy with your team. In some instances, you’ll have to act within weeks. In others, within days. Whatever the timeline, make sure you carry out the plan you put together with your team with efficiency and confidence.

Whatever the setback you’ve experienced with your business and whatever the fallout, if you face the reality of the situation and surround yourself with your best people, the solution will present itself. All you can do then is put it into action and hope for the best.


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