Long term success with your own business requires both perseverance and flexibility. How do you stick to your guns while being able to change your weapons when necessary?
Life as a founder or business owner often requires you to embrace what feel like contradictory characteristics – for instance, perseverance and flexibility. You’re told that you’ve got to be able to stick with the plan in the face of self-doubt and discouragements. And yet, you’re also told that success means the ability to pivot and to change direction or approach when situations or the marketplace change which is all the time at the moment. Somehow, you need to be stubborn when it counts and yet not dig in your heels so deeply that you can’t be agile and respond to change. To coin one of those annoying portmanteau words, you’ve got to flexivere.
But perhaps the key thing to learn about balancing perseverance and flexibility is that, when it comes to running your own business, these two things are not as contradictory as they seem. Persevering in businesses means being flexible.
The perseverance that matters most as a founder or business owner is not simply sticking to one idea or project or product plan no matter what, but rather staying the course overall. In order to persevere like that, you’ll need to show flexibility because things will never go exactly according to plan. Sometimes that will look like letting go of ideas – or even people and products – you’ve invested in because sticking with them is not benefitting the business. Sometimes, it will look like the opposite, starting or building something you’d never initially planned to do.
And, in order to be constructively flexible and agile – rather than flakey – in a changing marketplace, you need to flex your business in a way which fits with with your long term goals. That means not pivoting or changing course for the sake of it but doing so in a way which is consistent with your long term vision for and the core values of your business. And that means razor-sharp clarity on those long term goals and values. The help of a good business/ strategy coach can be very useful here but, however you get it, you need that clarity.
There you have it – flexiverance, not a faddy, new eating plan but a commitment to doing what it takes to succeeding in the long term and an entrepreneur’s best friend.