Entrepreneurs: it’s time to step out of your comfort zone
For entrepreneurs, change is just part of the job.
Market conditions fluctuate, consumer preferences evolve and advanced technologies continually reshape entire industries. To survive in the fast-paced, ever-changing business world, entrepreneurs must be adaptable to whatever comes their way.
Of course, uncertainty can be intimidating. Change doesn’t come without its obstacles. But instead of being afraid to take risks and try something new, why not embrace the challenge?
The more often you step out of your comfort zone, the more comfortable it’ll become — and you’ll find it easier to approach new opportunities, stretch yourself and grow your skills and experience.
Not sure where to start? With these five simple steps, you’ll be able to push yourself into career-launch mode and tackle your challenges head-on…
1. Establish your goals
Is the fear of the unknown holding you back from taking risks and reaching new heights?
Having a clear set of goals to strive towards can give you a sense of direction when everything else is up in the air — helping you consider whether a change of course might bring you closer to your targets or if it’d be better to stick to the path you’re on.
To keep your ambitions on the right track, follow the SMART goal-setting formula:
- Specific. Giving yourself a specific goal clarifies your next steps — or at least narrows them down. So, even if your new target is harder to reach, you’ll have a well-defined plan to get you to the finish line.
- Measurable. Whether through time, money or simply how you feel, benchmarking your progress will not only help you know how close you are to achieving your goal, but it’ll also break your goal down into more manageable chunks (making it a little less scary). Speaking of which…
- Attainable. It’s important to remember that your objectives are a work in progress. Understanding this can help you avoid being discouraged when you face challenges along the way — every step outside your comfort zone is another step in the right direction!
- Relevant. When working through change, it can be easy to be guided off-course. Making sure you nail down the reason you’re working towards something — and how it’ll affect your business in the long run — is the best way to keep yourself on track.
- Time-bound. Think realistically about when you want to accomplish your goal and why — and be strict with yourself to ensure you follow through.
2. Ask ‘what if’ questions
Although change is inevitable as an entrepreneur, there’s one way to avoid being totally blindsided by it: scenario planning.
Scenario planning can help you examine every business possibility and decide on the most successful path forward. What if interest rates continue to rise? What if your key supplier goes into liquidation? What if you can’t afford to hire enough staff or need to recruit more staff?
Facing the unknown can spark fear and panic, but arming yourself with a backup plan for every possibility will give you the confidence to take a managed risk approach and adapt to any future changes. And with that peace of mind, you’ll have more creative freedom to try new things and push the boundaries of your business.
3. Build a support network
Although entrepreneurship may seem like a solo endeavour, it doesn’t have to be. Leaning on a support network has many benefits, including the power of collaboration…
The opportunity to collaborate is essential as an entrepreneur because it allows professionals to pool their resources and knowledge, solve problems and stay up to speed with industry news and updates — essential for remaining adaptable in the face of a rocky business landscape.
Yet to become a seasoned pro at networking? Attending conferences, seminars and industry events is a great way to break out of the echo chamber of your comfort zone and meet new people. Whether you pop to your local trade show or head to a larger regional event, the more you try your hand at networking, the better at it you’ll get.
4. Use mistakes as lessons
It’s cliché but true: there’s no growth without failure. Making mistakes is inevitable in entrepreneurship with so many variables involved.
But instead of feeling disheartened and shying away from your mistakes, acknowledge them, pinpoint what went wrong and consider how you’ll do things differently in the future.
Did your product idea fall flat? Find your target audience and ask them questions. Learn what they like and don’t like about it — and go back to the drawing board with fresh ideas.
5. Surround yourself with inspiration
When faced with new challenges or a plateau in your career, what’s the best way to get fresh ideas flowing? Switching up your environment.
It’s fair to say staring at the same four walls every day isn’t going to muster up a lot of inspiration — which is crucial for finding new ways to approach and expand business ideas.
For many entrepreneurs looking to flex their creative muscle, hotdesking is a popular option.
Hotdesking is a flexible and cost-efficient working model where professionals can book and use a desk when needed. Surrounded by other hotdesking entrepreneurs, small businesses and CEOs, you’ll find yourself in a hub of innovation.
Situated in coworking spaces bustling with activity and full of areas designed for productivity, hotdesking allows you to step into a stimulating environment, meet like-minded professionals and generate new ideas that’ll keep you one step ahead of the competition — and ready for whatever challenges come your way…