Five ways to survive when others won’t

Business life is rarely smooth sailing for new start-ups. Amidst market saturation and a thousand and one competitors, only certain characteristics, attributes and mindsets are left to determine those that will and won’t survive. Even a business that launches firing on all cylinders can soon find themselves in muddy waters; winning decks can always be flipped (and vice versa), often in the blink of an eye. There’s no such thing as economic stability anymore. Businesses must be able to rediscover their footing even as the ground shifts beneath them, enduring when others cannot.

1.     Understand that failure is just another pathway to success.

Part of recovery is understanding why you fell in the first place. No failure should be ignored. The most experienced entrepreneurs understand the importance and value of failure, and are able to remove ego from the equation. When things go awry, there’s always a not-to-be missed-opportunity for self-reflection and analysis.

If somebody says ‘no’, don’t imagine a full-stop but a semi-colon; rejection doesn’t mean the end. Ultimately, the road to success isn’t a straight line, but rather a zigzag ping-ponged between failures.

2.     Embrace the mission.

Your goals should (and must) drive you. Making it to the finish line is about internalising the necessity of doing so – of embracing the mission and remaining passionate about the journey. Passion fuels entrepreneurs, and helps them keep their eye on the prize even during times of struggle. Your competitor might have the exact same business model, product or target consumer – they might even have more funds – but the true decider is inner strength, will and commitment.  

3.     Love what you do.

You’ve gotta love what you do. It’s a slog to force yourself day-in and day-out to give 100% if you’re not truly devoted to your work. Even if you’re committed to the end goals, it’s naturally easier to be in love with success than it is the daily grind. But it is the small acts of devotion that decide the winners and the losers. With true devotion, nothing is forced. Drive yourself by something more than the desire to edge the competition. Be committed to the journey, not just the destination.

4.     Trust something beyond metrics.

Successful founders know when to rely on their instinct. Success and growth metrics are often deceiving and difficult to derive true meaning from. Even when everything looks honky-dory, it’s important not to lose touch of your instinct. It’s instinct that will help you navigate the unknown, and pre-empt shortcomings. Good entrepreneurs know when to listen to others and when to trust themselves.

5.     Endure when others relent.

Whilst you should always seek to maintain a work-life balance, enduring when the odds are stacked against you is the key to success. The ‘darkest before the dawn’ adage is spot on – a graph of growth and success will never show a linear gradient, but a line with many mountainous rises and precipitous drops. It is during these dips that you must hold on, internalising your goals and remembering that much of competition is a matter of who throws in the towel first.