Resilience – the ability to bounce back – is crucial for entrepreneurs.  Owning a business brings ups and downs, satisfaction and disappointment.  As a business owner or problem solver, resilience is required to adjust to ongoing change.  The environment, social conflict, technological advances and challenges, market changes, and personal loss can all set a business on shaky ground, with the future unclear and the approaches unknown.  That is where resilience comes in – getting back up and deciding what, how, and when to do what you decide to steady your enterprise and keep it afloat.  

Resilience is typically learned in childhood, but it is tested and developed further in adulthood.  Some people have an “easy” temperament – an inborn style and energy – that is calm, optimistic, and flexible.  Others are more rigid, fixed in thought and habit, and easily upset when things go awry.  Entrepreneurs with a more rigid temperament can learn resilience, but they may be more difficult to work with as they solve problems.  Trusted coworkers, mentors or confidants can help a highly structured entrepreneur loosen up and working with others to solve problems.  Business owners who are very “laid back,” on the other hand, may need to build greater resilience, too.  Their trusted confidants and advisors can help them develop a heightened ability to identify problems and a sense of urgency to solve them, understanding more clearly that there is no time to waste. 

Resilient people recognize problems, but they quickly switch their focus to opportunities they identify in those challenges. Seeing what is needed and the solutions that might work, they assess what they can control and move forward towards the solution.  When one solution does not work, they will craft another – and keep trying until the problem is solved.  Meanwhile, the resilient entrepreneur looks for opportunities and other ways to improve the business.  Time and energy in problematic times are not spent on worry, but on planning.   When one factor is out of their control (like a pandemic), they look for things that are (like developing additional products or services while in quarantine).  

As an entrepreneur, what is your approach to solving problems and overcoming set-backs?  Seek support to strengthen your resilience.  Talking with others to consider options can help as you decide upon solutions.

This blog complements Chapter I of The U.S.-Latino Entrepreneur’s Guide to Balancing Business, Family and Culture. (2020).  Find more information on the Entrepreneurial Mindset in that chapter.