Crisis Management for Startups: Navigating Challenges and Bouncing Back

Feet jumping to represent bouncing back from a crisis

When you’re starting a business, you’re riding on a wave of excitement, fear and exhilaration. It’s certainly not a predictable, easy ride – and perhaps that’s what makes it so rewarding. There’s no better feeling than when you get your first taste of business success, so enjoy it!

However, with this initial rush of excitement comes a tendency to make decisions a little too quickly. You might start making decisions without necessarily having the right depth of experience to actually deal with them. If this sounds like you, don’t worry – so many of us find ourselves saying ‘yes’ to everything in those initial stages, seizing every opportunity that comes our way.

Over time, these impulsive decisions can start turning into challenges and really test the resiliency of your startup. So many entrepreneurs find themselves in this situation, which is why I’d love to share with you some simple but effective crisis management tips for startups. I really hope they help you feel empowered.

Hands touching - embracing business challenges

Embrace Business Challenges as Opportunities

Crises and challenges are pretty much a given when it comes to entrepreneurship. The ups and downs of starting and growing a business are all part of the journey and no one takes this path believing it will be a breeze.

The very first thing that’s important is noting that crises and challenges are all part of the startup journey. Please don’t take them personally and think that it’s only you. Believe me when I say we all go through these bumps, over and over. Yet while it might feel like they’re holding you back, these challenges are actually perfect opportunities for continuous improvement. 

And by taking the learnings from these challenges, that’s what’s ultimately going to propel you towards success. This helps you shift towards what we call a growth mindset, which is the belief that a person’s abilities can be improved through effort, learning and persistence. 

It’s such a simple switch in thinking, but it’s so incredibly powerful.

Think back to a time where you felt challenged. Instead of thinking: “I should have done that better,” ask yourself: “What have I learned to help me achieve success next time?”

Just one simple shift in your mindset will help you transform your perceived failures into the brilliant learning opportunities that will serve you long-term.

man meditating and thinking about opportunities for business growth

Stay calm and detached from your business challenges

Can you keep your composure when things get a bit rocky? Or is your instant reaction to panic, shut down and imagine the worst?

If it’s the latter, then please know that this is so normal. Your business is very much your baby – you’ve watched it transform from a tiny seed of an idea into something that you’ve poured your all into. If any obstacle threatens to disrupt what you’ve worked so hard to create, this can feel pretty terrifying.

Instead of constantly battling against the tide, it’s important that you’re able to simply step back, breathe and let go now and then. Rather than succumbing to a sense of panic, trust the process and know that every challenge is a necessary stepping stone to grow and improve.

If you find it difficult to let go and feel grounded, take a look at my video. It only takes minutes, but just practising this whenever you get a spare moment will really help you to become more present and in control.

And when you’re present and in control, you’re in a far better mindset to make good decisions. It’s about taking the learnings and flowing with them, rather than resisting them.

Female entrepreneur sitting and reflecting on living and working holistically

Zoom out for perspective on your business

Whenever you’re in the thick of a new challenge, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and lose sight of the bigger picture. You might start questioning why you’re doing this and whether you’re even capable of getting your startup over the hurdle you’re facing.

But what might feel completely insurmountable in the moment isn’t a sign that you should give up. Often we just need to step back and look at the bigger picture, because actually, these challenges are formative steps in your path to success.

Look at how far you’ve come already and the challenges that you’ve been capable of overcoming before. List them down if it helps. There’s a lot more there than you first thought, right?

Remember, the startup journey towards entrepreneurial success is actually a long game. And maintaining that focus on the long game is so important – if you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t head straight into a 26-mile run. Instead you’d challenge yourself with small increases in distance until you were fully prepared to get through it on the day.

It’s no different in the world of entrepreneurship. Seeing each challenge as a way to move you forward towards your goal is crucial. If you can zoom out and view your entrepreneurial journey through the lens of the long game, you’ll start to understand how every hurdle becomes a valuable lesson and a strategic move towards success.

Entrepreneur doing yoga for self care

Prioritise your work-life balance

This one is so important. It’s something I talk about a lot in my blogs and videos, and it’s because it’s so true that if you really take care of yourself, then your business will flourish too. The two go hand-in-hand (no matter how stressful everything might seem sometimes).

Having the energy and stamina to run a successful startup begins with fuelling your body with healthy food, rest and exercise. Treat that daily walk or early night with as much importance as you would any other task in your busy calendar.

In the book The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions by Rhett Power, Jason Bornhorst, CEO at First Dollar, says: “Prioritising self-care at a startup starts with the CEO. I’m focusing on my family in the evening and not emailing.”

Remember, you work to live and not the other way around. Setting boundaries is so important so that you can enjoy the life you’re building for yourself and recharge the energy you need to run a thriving business. If you constantly catch yourself checking emails on your phone in bed or taking calls during dinner, set your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode after a certain time. 

Running a startup can very easily become all-consuming. And when you’re all-consumed you’re not at our best. Remember that whenever a challenge arises, it’s vital that you compartmentalise them and look after yourself. 

Ultimately speaking, the better you look after yourself, the better decisions you’ll make.  Just know that in time, all of this will come right around to serve you, no matter how challenging things might seem in the moment.

Trust me on this.

Some final words…

Crisis management for startups is about turning challenges into stepping stones. It’s about maintaining composure and viewing every challenge as a brilliant opportunity for growth.

Above all, take care of yourself and embrace the journey. Stay resilient, keep that fire going and remember, it’s a long game.

You’re in it to win it. And if you’d love a supporter to help you through it, I’m here to help guide you and shift your mindset to make it happen.