Not a single entrepreneur or self-employed person I know would disagree that the world economic situation is changing rapidly. None of us have before faced the possibility that the United States would lose its long-revered AAA credit rating – something that has implications for entrepreneurs of every nation, not just American small business owners. At the same time, more than one European country is facing a debt crisis that won't be solved without severe financial repercussions in job markets, real estate, and other investments.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, the head of the Euro rescue fund pointed out “No one knows what happens when the biggest economic power in the world ceases to pay interest on its debt. That has never happened before. That would shake the world economy to its core.” The same article stated “Companies are starting to fret about the effect of the stalled U.S. debt talks on their business.” Even if the debt ceiling crisis is now put to rest, the issue has been solved only temporarily. And the debt crisis in Europe is using band-aid measures without solving the core issue, too.
All this reminds me of that Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times.” When things shift in a fundamental, profound way old conventions and believes shatter, and that creates opportunities that can directly benefit entrepreneurs. It takes the right mindset to see the opportunities, though. Here are 3 ways to benefit instead of losing.
- Let go of your prior beliefs about how things are supposed to work. Clinging to how you're always done business, or how your sales cycle has always worked, keeps you from seeing completely new ways to get business or to offer new products and services to existing customers. What you thought you would never do might, in fact, become exactly your best new income stream.
- Avoid spending your life's energy finding who is to blame. Also avoid spouting off angrily about how someone's actions or inaction has impacted your bottom line. Your energy is better spent listening intently for what is going to happen and then tracking how events can be used to your benefit.
- Get it, really get it, that change always opens the door for new opportunities. Even though you might be sad or regret what no longer works in your business, there is a great opportunity to benefit financially when times are uncertain. In fact, it is exactly these kinds of times that create the most opportunity for creative and innovative products and services. You'll spot them more quickly if you continue to build relationships and develop new ones. To quote myself from a blog post a few years ago, the trick is to step back from our attachment to what we wanted. So long as we bind up our energy in holding on to our preferences and desires, there is little energy free to see the possibilities embedded within change.
If you think that there are NO good opportunities in the new order of things, it is a sure sign that you are clinging to your wants. Sometimes, we cling to our point of view for or against the change very strongly, talking about it and trying to prove our point of view over and over again. Often, this is a defense against feeling and letting go of the strong emotions we hold toward someone or something. Our energy is stuck until we are willing to let go of the emotions and the belief in structures that no longer work. If you are the brave entrepreneur who consistently works toward that, you will be one of the ones who benefits even in the midst of economic crisis.