Donna Leyens

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Overcoming Business Obstacles

I recently had an experience that reminded me of the following:

  1. If you want to grow your business without losing your mind, you must have a clear and motivating vision of your ultimate business and life.
  2. There is more than one way to achieve your vision, so obstacles are merely detours, as long as they don’t take you too far out of your way.

On a road trip from New Jersey to upstate New York and back, I realized that my ride home was the perfect metaphor for life as an entrepreneur, and if I paid close attention, I could learn from it.

Many of you might be familiar with the app “Waze.” The beauty of Waze is that it is a crowd sourced GPS, so it knows where the traffic jams and roadblocks are, and will maneuver you around them, if possible. You enter your destination, and it gives you the path to get there.

Sometimes, however, conditions change while you are in route, and Waze will change its directions. That’s exactly what happened to me on my road trip. My husband was driving, and I was dozing off, when suddenly I heard Waze give a completely unexpected direction to get off at the next exit. I was suddenly wide awake. “What?” we both shouted at the phone at the same time. We looked at each other – what should we do? We had never heard of this highway and the route was completely unfamiliar.

We knew from experience that if Waze was rerouting us, there must be major delays on our original route. O.K., we said, we’re going to trust the GPS. After all, our ultimate goal was to get home in the least amount of time possible, (we hate sitting in traffic) so taking a detour was aligned with that goal. It was slightly nerve wracking due to all of the unknowns. Would there be rest stops? Would there be a Starbucks so that we could stop for coffee, or would we have to drink some other brand of coffee? Would we encounter scary wild animals? On our original route that we had traveled before, we knew all of these answers. Now, it seems, we were heading into unexplored territory.

It was actually a beautiful ride through the mountains. As we crossed into Pennsylvania, we saw a sign – Welcome Center. So we stopped to get some information and see where we were. Looking at the giant map on the wall of the Welcome Center, we saw that we were actually in a section of Pennsylvania called “The Wilds.” Hmmm, that conveniently fits right into my metaphor.

As I thumbed through the “Visit Pennsylvania” literature, I realized just how large the state really is, and how many really interesting and beautiful places there are to visit. So many, I couldn’t even decide where I would want to go first. But then we remembered our goal – to get home by dinner time! There was definitely no time to explore all of Pennsylvania AND get home for dinner.

So, of course we got back in the car, followed the new route, and eventually made it back to familiar territory, and arrived home just in time to order take out for dinner.

Being the business nerd that I am, I immediately related our trip detour to the business obstacles and decisions that entrepreneurs have to deal with every day. At Provendus Group, when we are working with a client through the Pumpkin Plan Action Guide, we always start by clarifying their vision and purpose. Why? Just imagine if my husband and I didn’t have a clear vision of where we were going (home) and a purpose that we cared about (get home by dinner). We might still be wandering around “The Wilds” of Pennsylvania, hungry, overwhelmed by all of the things to see and do, not making progress towards anything, and never getting back home.

Like travelers on a road trip, entrepreneurs can also get distracted by all of the interesting opportunities that come up, and if they forget their ultimate vision and goal (or are not clear about them to begin with), they might also get lost in “The Wilds,” and never make it out the other side!

The other big take away is that when road blocks, or business obstacles, appear you have two choices. You can stick with your original plan and get stuck in the bumper to bumper traffic, or you can take the unknown detour, trusting that there is more than one route to your ultimate goal. Of course, if you have the tools and the roadmap that you need to figure out your new route (in our case that was Waze), then you are much more likely to keep moving in the right direction and reach your goal.

Sometimes as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take that risk, and go into unexplored territory in order to get where you want to go. You need to know when to stick it out, and when road conditions require a new plan. And it certainly helps to have a guide and a new plan so that you don’t get completely lost in the “Wilds” of the marketplace.

The next time you hit a road block in your business, what will you do? Will you let it stop you in your tracks, or will you remember your ultimate goal, and plan a detour around the inevitable business obstacles? Will you seek out the tools and find the courage to venture into unexplored territory?

If you would like to know how a Provendus Strategist and The Pumpkin Plan Action Guide can help you create your roadmap to your vision, and guide you around the inevitable road blocks, Click Here to learn more and Find a Strategist.

Article written by :
Donna Leyens
Donna Leyens is an entrepreneur, a Certified Professional Business Coach, and has an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Studies. She is the co-founder and President of Provendus Group, a team of business strategists who use cutting edge business techniques to help entrepreneurial companies that have stopped growing, to break through the plateau and start expanding again. www.ProvendusGroup.com.
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