Recognize an opportunity in what others perceive as crisis


Let’s face it, entrepreneurs come across obstacles day in and out, starting from when they wake up in the morning to when they go to bed at night (assuming they get to sleep at all!) and many of these blow up to be full blown crises that needs to be handled. Whatever we might think of these guys, life for them is not easy at all! Starting from ensuring investor returns to ensuring payroll on time, from aiming for success of a new product launch to developing brand goodwill, an entrepreneur’s mind is always fully loaded and scope of making a mistake, few.

Against this pretty somber background of common obstacles and frequent crises in a tough entrepreneurial life, some struggle to stay afloat, while a handful few effectively handles the hardships and go on to make it big in life. What makes these few handle hardships so well? What makes them so successful? The answer is simply that they recognize an opportunity when others perceive a crisis.

Step 1: Question Yourself

The first and crucial step is to ask pertinent question to yourself in the middle of a crisis. This is the only way to get your mindset and attitude right so as to be able to recognize the opportunities without getting bogged down by the circumstances. Ask yourself “What are my obstacles?” Please note, that the apparent answer like ‘lack of time’ or ‘lack of resources’ or ‘because someone did this’ would not do. You might find them to be factors, but trust me, these were reasons in the past probably which led to the incident, but these are NOT your obstacles now and stating them as obstacles basically means you are unknowingly resorting to the blame game and that would not do.

The answer to “what obstacles are in my way” is usually oftentimes “me”. Yes true. Think about it… What risks are you afraid to take? What responsibilities are you avoiding? Which decisions are you reluctant to take? these are the real questions that you need to ask yourself first.

Step 2: Assess the Risks:

Every ‘opportunity’ is a ‘new venture’ on an ‘unknown path’ and necessarily comes with a certain degree of risk. Identifying a crisis as an opportunity and moving ahead taking a definitive course of action firstly requires you to outline the likely and unlikely consequences of that particular action in the first place.

Take a sheet of paper and make two columns. Write the top 10 positive outcomes of the opportunity in one and the possible 10 negative outcomes on the other. Now slowly go through each positive outcome and rank them and then repeat the same with the negatives. When you are done, keep only the top 3 in both the columns and just strikeout the others. This exercise’s benefit is the thinking process it calls for and the top 3 potential benefits and risks are what you need to focus on. This would not only help you reduce your stress in taking crisis decisions but it also takes away the ‘overwhelming;’ aspect of such a decision.

Step 3: Get external support

Getting external support is always a good idea in case of crises. It enables an external objective view of things, fosters strategic thinking and planning, offers unbiased feedback and encourages motivation.

So next time you face a crisis, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and think that it’s an opportunity for you and you just need to figure out the way in which you can identify it! Follow the above mentioned steps and you should be there! Remember, opportunity and risk are the two sides of the same coin called crisis. It depends on you which side you want it to flip!