The world of business is full of challenges. Many companies that have reached the top have done so by knowing how to overcome adversity. Entrepreneurs find themselves in the middle of a challenge that needs to be overcome if a company wants to succeed. Without the right decision-making skills, small business owners will likely find that their business takes a turn for the worst. The ability to think outside the box and tackle problems head-on is key to success.
Let's get clear on what opportunities and challenges are:
Opportunity: A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
Challenge: A call to take part in a contest or competition
Both are calls to action because challenges are opportunities!
The Opportunity Challenge Method
You will inevitably engage in activities that don't reach their potential during your business venture. Employees quit. Projects go over budget. Educational programs fail. Business events are poorly attended. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your actions just don't yield the desired results. So the question is, how do you manage a business dilemma that once had positive potential but resulted in a devastating, unexpected outcome?
I approach unexpected dilemmas by working through the Opportunity Challenge Method. This method involves taking strategic steps to make a mindful and impactful decision when faced with a challenging dilemma.
Steps To Move Through A Challenging Situation:
The only rule is always to see the OPPORTUNITY in the CHALLENGE.
Step One. Consider the problem, also known as the challenge.
Step Two. Ask yourself, "Is this something that can be handled without too much thought?"
If YES, write 2-3 solutions and select the best option based on your experience or seek your tribe or mentor to discuss the course of action.
If NO, write your strongest feelings about this challenge, but no more than 2.
Step Three. Now write the opposite of those two feelings.
Remember, negative and positive always create a balance; they both have to exist.
Step Four. Next, under that, write this mantra, "I will be OKAY no matter the outcome."
I'm going to be honest sometimes when I do this practice. I don't come back to this challenge for days or weeks because there are hard feelings to work through relating to it. The challenges with stricter deadlines, in most cases, there's no choice but to push through; remember that inside each of us, there is something bigger and more extraordinary that the world needs, and you may need to experience this to bring it forth. Trust the process; it makes you a better leader, founder, creative, entrepreneur, or just a better human.
The Opportunity Challenge Method In Action
Write the challenge down:
Challenge: Lack of funds
Feelings: Frustrated and scared
Opposite: At ease and confident
Mantra: I will be okay no matter the outcome.
Potential solution: Look up side gigs in my area.
Step Five. Begin working on your "Opportunity." The trick behind the opportunity challenge is to shift your mindset to receiving instead of focusing on the loss.
"In every ending, there is a new beginning."—Deborah Harkness
I had just completed the last day of my accelerator program. The rush of emotions that filled my mind ranged from joy to sadness, then fear about what was next. I thought the apparent end of my accelerator program would be funding—the funding I so deeply needed to create this idea.
My software was needed even more now because the pandemic was here. The economy was going to change, and I needed to get my solution out to the market! It was even harder because, underneath the smiling goodbyes, I was back at the drawing board.
Not only was I out of funding, but I had already used my savings to test my current product. Now I had a whole new direction that I had to venture into. I asked myself, "Why did this not end with a next-step opportunity? Why was I left heartbroken and weeping about the challenges that lie ahead?" The next day I woke up with a rush of hope! I wrote my pros and cons list. Then I asked myself, "What is something that gives me hope?"
After following the steps of the Opportunity Challenge Method, these were my takeaways from the accelerator program experience:
I had a new insight. My invention was needed even more than ever, and with Covid at its peak, my concept was game-changing; it could flatten the curve and bring more jobs to the creative community.
At this point, I decided that I would support myself. I would keep going because I believed in this, and no matter what, I would build a village and develop the support systems needed to create this solution at a slow and steady pace.
I also found that the parts of my idea that were stolen did not change my idea. It took me back to the drawing board to create another version. This new vision took the original focus and mission, redirected it from being focused on the business to consumer (B2C) aspect, and propelled it to a business-to-business (B2B) model.
As women, we give so much. Sometimes, being a woman in business, it feels like something is being taken away when the challenges arrive. But the reality is that the value in the challenge is finding the opportunity in it. I was holding on to parts of the idea that were unimportant to the end goal and did not ultimately change the overall product.
However, everything is divinely guided. It's all a part of your purpose. Each creation has a story, and you are the main character in your business, and to be prepared for wherever your journey goes in your business, you will need to apply the Opportunity Challenges Method along the way.
Today I am not only slowly and steadily raising funding for my software, but I also have the opportunity to offer a physical space for creatives and entrepreneurs to tell their stories. So I want to cheer you on and be your cheerleader. I can't wait to hear your story about the "opportunity challenges" that pushed you to where you are today.
Alternatively, think back to before you got to where you are today. How many other opportunity challenges have you faced head-on? You're still standing, so don't forget that you are here with a purpose and a gift to create ideas and execute your vision. There's nothing more important; we need you to face these challenges and make them opportunities because there are so many behind you waiting for you to pave the way.
You got this!
Empowering creatives to build their crafts into legacy businesses that stand the test of time.