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The Four R’s of a Comeback

It happens to everyone—you get stuck, stalled or stressed out by your business. Entrepreneurship is not always a smooth road, and the necessary risk-taking can sometimes lead to mistakes. Sometimes things happen that are far beyond your control. In short, at some time in your career as an entrepreneur you are going to need to pick yourself up and start again. You need a comeback.

When you’re in the middle of a problem, it can feel like things will never get better. The Four R’s of a Comeback can help you to assess your situation and move forward with renewed confidence.

Review: With as much emotional distance as you can muster ask yourself, “What actually happened?” It can be tempting to over dramatize the problems or players and you must resist this urge. Look at data and hard numbers and review written correspondence to get a clear picture of where your business stands at this moment and what happened to get you there. Many entrepreneurs take the occasional misstep with relative ease. However, if you tend to be a perfectionist it is important for you to forgive yourself in this first stage. Carrying guilt or shame over making a mistake will make it difficult to execute the Four R process.

Research: It’s very likely that someone has already dealt with a similar problem before, so there’s no need for you to struggle with a lack of information. Gather material on your type of challenge by leveraging the vast amount of free content on the internet. Selectively invest in books, webinars or courses if you find you need more information.

Regroup: Take all your hard won evidence and pull yourself together for a talk with your coach, mentor, mastermind group or a trusted friend. Discuss what you’ve discovered and where you want to go next. Formalize your plans by committing them to writing (or mapping if you’re visual). If you have never assembled a support team before, now is the time to do so. Entrepreneurs may be individualists, but it is unlikely that you will be able to “wear all the hats” forever in your business. Reach out.

Rebound: Once you’ve got a plan, get back out there with enthusiasm. Do not slink back into the spotlight. Make an announcement about your newest product or project. Throw yourself a party or increase the number of networking events you attend.

The Four R strategy is simple, easy to remember and can be repeated as often as necessary. Events that seem to be business tragedies one moment can turn into growth and development opportunities in the next. Use your comeback period as a time to consider major changes to your business and reinvention of your brand if needed. During this process do not leave stakeholders like investors, vendors, customers or employees in the dark. Communicate with clarity and take responsibility. An entrepreneur who embraces opportunity and change and who holds herself or himself accountable inspires loyalty—something every business owner can use.

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About Karen Southall Watts

In 2005, Karen Southall Watts drove alone, with most of her life in a station wagon, across the United States from North Carolina to the Northwest corner of Washington to start a new life. Karen has been a business consultant, college instructor, coach and speaker since 1999. Years of working in social services, experience as…