How do you stay motivated through business setbacks?
Happy Motivation Monday! I want to know how others deal with business disappointments. Feel free to share any specific examples.
I work for a small community newspaper. Compared to past years, our sales and contributions are down. I understand the market is changing and people prefer to get their news sent straight to their cellular phone.
Everyone copes with setbacks. How do you react?
Interesting question. I would say that my "action" is more important than my reaction. I immediately look at what created the set back. Was it resource, consumer preference, or effort driven? How could I have handled the situation differently? Did the door close or can I readdress the situation?
I then look at ways to learn from that mistake and try to move the situation from a negative to a position. As a product development person, I have developed thousands of ideas and products that have gone nowhere. I have tried to sell the unsellable and failed. The key is to always learn from those mistakes.
In your situation, I would look for ways to provide free content via mobile marketing that would drive them to read the whole story- either online or on paper via a subscription. Many people would pay for your service if it came through an app or online subscription. Those people are also much less expensive to serve since it only requires you to post your news.
You have already identified some of the reasons sales and contributions are down. I think every business faces periods of what seems like a stagnant time.One of the worst ways to respond is to take the, "Oh well" attitude. Because their are some periods of drought in business at times, often people think that it's just normal and it will pass, unfortunately, lack of response often causes the problem to become more insidious.
I always tell clients they need to re-assess their business anytime it is not growing. One they identify the reasons for lack of ongoing growth, then they can develop a plan of attach.
Staying motivated is difficult when you just wait for something to take its course, but it becomes easier when you start addressing ways to turn it around. In your case, you might want to come up with new columns that will peak a reader's interest or perhaps offer an online option. Some local newspapers around me offer podcasts about specific topics that are exposed in the paper for more information and reader participation.
I always tell me clients, their business is often like their child. A child may have moments when they disappoint us or frustrate us but we don't simply give up or wait for them to "grow out of it". A good parent will look for ways to nip a problem in the bud. Maybe you need to have a brainstorming session with some of your colleagues ( and the paper leadership) and discuss options for creating a new venue to increase growth. It might mean re-aligning the paper or even developing a different focus.
Nothing is worse for any business of any type than doing nothing but watching its demise. Many times lack of growth is something that could have been stopped considerably earlier. Business, whether a service, product or newspaper needs to evolve with what its customers are seeking.
Check your competitors and determine how they are handling the situation.
Be proactive and you may be able to turn things around because being reactive often results in your disappointment affecting others pervasively.
I run a leading Digital Marketing agency in the UK called Odyssey New Media (odysseynewmedia.com).
Here is my list of top tips:
1) Analyse your sales/contributins setbacks - was it you or external circumstances
2) Can setbacks be avoided? - Can you avoid sales/contributions setbacks in the future, if so place actions to stop them recurring.
3) What else can you be doing? - are you pushing sales in all areas? e.g. digital marketing, search engines, social media etc. or are you waiting for business to come to you?
4) Set actions - Set actions to address the areas where you are weak and caused setbacks to occur
5) Don't dwell on setbacks, move forward positively - Ultimately setbacks will occur but its those that move forward and don't let it hinder them that often go the furthest and succeed.
I hope that makes sense. If you need any sales/digital marketing advice, please contact me. We offer consultancy as well as managed services to help businesses increase traffic, brand awareness, sales and leads.
MD @ Odyssey New Media
That's a great question. In my experience, the biggest challenge when dealing with setbacks is understanding the source of the problems and redefining them as temporary challenges. The key here is to look and think about it differently. Here are some suggestions based on personal experiences.
I started my second retail business and about a year into the business (still at pre-revenue and yet to breakeven) the financial crisis hit and I was left with all my inventory, hardly any sales let alone cover my expenses. I decided to stick with it for a while until such time when I realised this problem was not going away anytime sooner and I'd better "think differently".
Thinking Differently - The problem or challenges was caused by the economic climate which I had no control over and could not have anitcipated it - caught everyone off guard.
Tackling The Challenge - What are the options?
Shut shop, offload stock at cost or even take a loss, hold back and wait for a change or shift in the market or crash and burn.
The Decision Process - Impact and choices?
By looking at the prohlem as a challenge, I was able to minimise the impact on my finances - cancelling future orders, negotiating a wholesale agreement with other smaller outlets, dsmping down some of the stocks, closing down the unit and not forgeting, I still had unpaid bills and other costs.
The learning - In times of crisis, you need a cool head, and despite the difficulties, you still have to prioritise your actions.
Somehow, there is a blessing in every misfortune, but it takes a different thinking to get through it. I was able to grasp the key issues that had led to the problem, Ii also allowed me to learn about rrlated businesses and what others were doing differently to weather the storm.
If you have a team, do bring the team along with you, discuss the issues, brainstorm ideas and most importantly, show leadership by involving them in the decision making to ensure everyone understands the process and shares in your ideals - what is best for the business and it's people.
Hope this helps and feel free to connect if I can be of help.
Best of luck
I think that context is key. How you deal with business setbacks should mirror how you deal with life...I assume your life hasn't been perfect, so fundamentally understanding (and maybe working on) your nature to have a long view and understand that the view from the peak and from the valley will both pass and roll.
In terms of understanding print publishing, I worked in the industry for 25 years and with products that made millions. The days when people were declaring "print is dead" was over 10 years ago. Obviously that was an overstatement for effect but it is dying as opposed to growing. So you aren't so much talking about a setback as a sinking trend (even with occasional bumps up). I think you can take one of two tacks, you can go look for little peaks and try to hold water using nostalgia or print product innovation, utility and design or you can try to embrace (simultaneously) new opportunities to offer and merge digital products like community bulletin boards or social media with sponsorship (or other revenue ideas) etc.
The only thing you can't do is sit around feeling sorry for yourself. If it wasn't hard they wouldn't call it work.
Kelly, there are great tips already suggested by my fellow responders, so I am going to ask you a question or two to see if I can help you specifically with your issue.
You say you work at a news outlet. What is your focus? Writer, editor, or sales? Many, many news media outlets have shrunk tremendously due to the loss of ad sales, thereby creating massive layoffs across the spectrum.
There are also media outlets that have added digital marketing sales people (print media sales have a difficult transition) to support their existing and former customers with their marketing. It works extremely well, and quality solutions abound. If you want more information you can simply reply to this comment and I'd be happy to share.
Great question, not only for business, but also for life.
I would say that most if not all of us have had setbacks.
Speaking from my experiences, and some very sound advice.
The first thing that I did was to realise that:
The sky is not falling.
I am not alone. Others have been there and made it through the other side.
Some good advice:
Consider the worst thing that has happened to you in the past.
Think about how you felt, and what you believed at that time.
Have you got that, do you remember. Now stop for a second. Look around you. Here you are still standing, You made it through it that time, so what makes you think that later in the future, you will look back at this time and situation, are realize that you made it through it again.
Your mental attitude, and belief is a great foundation and starting point.
If you like God has helped you thus far, He will continue to do so.
Now you are in a position to understand what has happened, and why.
Then discover what has worked, what has not worked, what has changed,
what you can keep, what you need to change.
With what works can I do more of the same. For instance if your papers sales are down, what is your readership demographics.
What is or why is it that people are still buying your paper.
What can you do to increase readership to that demographic market who are not currently reading. Maybe target them with special introduction offers.
you know by the research, that they are within the interested target group.
At the same time understand why and who are turning away and no longer supporting your products.
Do the same thing with this group, Understand what it is they want and need. Decide if this is something you want to develop.
Decide on what extra feature is currently lacking from the current suppliers.
This way you can turn a problem into an advantage.
Just being a "me too" product will not necessary win over new customers.
I trust this is helpful to you.
I like this question. Not one I have to think through often, because I react first.
I use the same approach I taught my children: 1. Still yourself, take 10 deep breathes. 2. Pray and ask for guidance from God. (my older insists that it is the universe, I accept her understanding) 3. Pull out the paper (computers don't work here for me) look at your plan and pinpoint/define the challenges 4. Brainstorm for the solutions, pick the top 3 and 5. Implement in order.
Kelly, I stay motivated by looking at an A.B. Frost picture of a setter on point.
It reminds me to stay laser focussed. I believe in who I am and what I do, so it's a reminder to stay on task and directed to what I need to accomplish.
Roland also gave a terrific response which offers a great road map.
Interesting topic and one that every small town newspaper should be considering. This is very real so the issue is how do you react? There are some still making it strong but the evolution to digital is unfortunately very real. You need to have a plan to deal with the market-do you effectively build a better product, tough it out a few more years, evolve into something else?? Can you focus on digital avenues for revenue such as real estate sales, or general markets? Is there a niche in your community (arts, eclectic groups, social offerings, etc. to develop a really strong presence? Letterpress is making a comeback--a new area? I once was in the telephone answering/secretarial business. We sold that off as the business would certainly disappear as we knew it, but variations have now taken over (i.e. virtual offices). The secret is to be nimble and quick and develop a superior product. Lots of opportunities but also facing the reality of printing newspapers is a dying art. Convert your expertise and see what the future develops into.
Disappointments occur more frequently than successes I found over the past 20 years I owned my own business. One way I dealt with them was to be a part of a CEO roundtable or a similar group where you can share your frustrations and gain insights into how others handle disappointments. One way I handled it was to go to the gym to workout. This allowed me to blow off steam and think out how to handle it better the next time.
First is to realize that there are just things that are out of your control and you have to accept that. When I was working for myself there were always set backs, what I told me myself is to push forward work harder and something better will come. Lastly in certain situations do not take a setback personally. Also I would recommend checking out Gary Vaynerchuk, If you need some motivation he really gets to the point.
The evolution process is an ongoing event.Man has invented time but day and night and the process of evolution is always just there.
Business is about adding value to the present state of affairs and it is prudent to utlise energy in moving with the times and not hope for some miracles.
Print and publishing news gathering are changing and your business also needs to change.
Look for synergy and your skills to add more value to your offerings.As you already have a customer base offer them better stuff and keep them as subscribers.
Wonderful tips already from the community. Few things based on what I do and know:
1. Digital - The world is going digital and proliferation of smartphones is on at a very rapid pace, so definitely that should be part of the strategy (if not already there).. Whether this means digital marketing, ads, a new app, website or other things.
2. Learn from others - Study your peers or maybe even larger media houses to see how they are handling this situation - we can definitely learn and don't need to re-invent the wheel all by ourselves.
3. Retrospection - When faced with these types of setbacks, we have done our retrospection that focuses on what went well, what do we wish to continue, what didn't go well and improvement areas.This has helped us to stop repeating the mistakes in new projects.
4. SWOT - Alternatively you could do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis and then come up with next steps.
5. Competitive and Market analysis - Where there any initial signals, that were not rightly picked up, in that case doing a periodic survey of market trends and competitors would be helpful.
6. Understand your customer - In the light of rapidly changing customer preferences, it is indeed critical to know what the customer base would look for in the paper and then incorporate new sections accordingly.
Hope this helps and best of luck as you look at stepping past this temporary setback...
I find one of the better way to deal with setbacks is to keep the dialogue going with the people who are still working with you and make a list of some of the things that worked well in the past.
I usually sit down, wait until my mind becomes clear and start looking for an opportunity to put my business in a correct, and sometimes, a new path.
We know, there are lots of opportunities around us and we can't be blind because of a setback. Go ahead.
I stay motivated by remembering myself why I do what I do.
I sense passion and a desire to contribute to the community through your work. How can you use these wonderful qualities to connect (with) people and explain the benefits of the simple gesture of buying the newspaper?
May I also suggest this article?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-chavern/why-buying-a-newspaper-ma_b_9809256.html (especially "The print parts still make money" part).
I hope this helps :)
...after reflection and (usually self-blame) I remember I have private school tuition to pay for plus a mortgage, so off to the trenches I go once again, remembering what happened but not letting it eat away at me. Life and business go on...not trying to be flip but disruption and change are as expected as the sun in the morning...so expect, plan and execute...
Differentiate your paper further and offer it online as well as delivered or in stores.... I remember having to use airport transportation to my car in NC around Christmas time... The parking lot bus picked me up, drove me to my rental car, did not charge for ride and offered Christmas cookies during the ride.... always used that rental car agency whenever I could..... You may wish to think about another type of new business, as my old mentor Dr. Gross used to say "Fail forward fast,"
Let the setback challenge the intrinsic motivators that ignite your pride. Instead of reactive shift your energy towards proactive actions that free the creative mechanisms of your thought process.
Many of the best turn a rounds in life come to us following a setback because of how powerful the creative mind can respond.
Take a look at the work by Dr Maxwell Maltz shared in his book "Psycho-Cybernetics" after you read the preface skim through his work for what fits your personal situation. There is plenty of time to read the entire work.