The recession left many small business owners like yourself bruised and battle weary. So how can you bounce back from uncertainty and decline? According to Amanda Bullough, Ph.D., assistant professor of global entrepreneurship and leadership at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz., there are two traits you can learn and practice to help you confidently build your business. The first is entrepreneurial self-efficacy, or a belief in one’s ability to do what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The second is resilience, or the ability to persevere after hardship or failure. Here are Bullough’s five tips to help you build on those skills:
1. Get educated. Self-efficacy starts with knowledge of business fundamentals. A solid foundation in management and leadership skills can make the difference between dreaming and taking action. Educational opportunities range from short seminars, workshops and certificate courses to full-scale degree programs. Each lesson learned opens new doors.
2. Find a mentor. The right mentor can show you how to build a business from the ground up. Would-be entrepreneurs can boost their entrepreneurial self-efficacy and resilience when they model others who have successfully steered businesses through difficult times.
3. Read stories. You can find motivation and inspiration in the stories of others and this can help fuel your dream of starting your on practice. Also, think back to the stories you enjoyed as a kid, or the stories you share with your children. Stories of overcoming turmoil and adversity can help creative individuals find inspiration, opportunities and solutions.
4. Build a network. Inspiration during challenging times also comes from connections made at professional, school and community events. One key is to find people with skills different from yours so you have something to offer each other. Simply meeting new people, swapping stories, and having conversations at networking events often sparks novel ideas and new partnerships.
5. Take action. The final step is to practice positive thinking and purposeful entrepreneurial activity. Successful business owners develop self-efficacy and resilience through real-world application of theory and knowledge. Stay optimistic.