The last of the 10 tardigrade traits is resilience. There is a reason that I bookend the traits with capital-efficiency as number one and resilience as number 10. More than any of the others, these two define a tardigrade brand.
When I searched for the antithetical mascot to compare to a unicorn, my heart was set on the tardigrade. Tardigrades have an incredible metabolic efficiency and ability to adapt and adjust to almost any ecosystem. These little critters can withstand anything thrown at them. That is the kind of brand I want to help build.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. It is an attribute that every brand and every entrepreneur must possess. Let's examine resilience as it relates to both you and your business.
Let's start with your business. There is nothing easy about building a brand. At every turn, there are headwinds, obstacles and minefields. Things inevitably cost more and take longer than anticipated or hoped. There is no way to avoid all the challenges, and you don't want to give into them. But you also don't want to get caught flat-footed. Wrong decisions are made when our toes dangle over the cliff's edge.
It's critical to stress test your business. Start by asking yourself the tough questions. What if we fall significantly short of our revenue targets? What happens if our supply chain drives up COGS? What happens if we aren't successful in closing this round? It is scary to ask and answer these questions. Yet, doing so now, while they are hypothetical, is a lot better than doing so when you are knee-deep.
The key is to understand what levers can and should be pulled if any of the situations above manifest. It is similar to a coach who has a play ready to call for every possible circumstance. Simply pulling a play out of the playbook is much easier than creating a new one in the heat of the moment.
Having a playbook for the "what-if's" and for when for those shit-hitting-the-fan moments is the hallmark of resilience. It's not that you wish for those challenges, but if you prepare for them, you'll most likely persevere.
Now for personal resilience. Most of you will have two constant companions join you on your entrepreneurial journey: fear and doubt. When those two are fed a steady diet of investor and retailer rejections, supply chain challenges, cash shortages and more, it exacts a significant toll on you.
Sadly, I know of no way to avoid the stress and difficulties of entrepreneurship. It's in the job description. What I do know is that you must have a mechanism to deal with them. If you just take body blow after body blow, you'll eventually fall to your knees. I've witnessed founders sacrifice their physical and mental health. I've seen marriages end and families struggle.
You must have a plan for self-care. Exercise, meditation, time away are all important. It is also vital to establish guardrails. Make certain to leave enough room to embrace other elements of your life. A good therapist or coach can also be hugely helpful. Simply put, you need to protect and nourish the most important asset of your business, you!
Both business and personal resilience are fundamental to success. It's never fun to think about the dark clouds that we encounter on our journey. However, if you do, you'll have the comfort of a good raincoat and umbrella at the ready.
Elliot Begoun is the principal of The Intertwine Group, a practice focused on helping emerging food and beverage brands grow.
Did you miss the previous installments of Elliot Begoun's tardigrade columns? Find them here:
- Why Tardigrades are in the best position to survive 2021
- 3 ways to use capital efficiency as a guiding principle
- Why successful entrepreneurs question everything
- Why having a growth hypothesis is critical to a brand's success
- Do this or don't bother when raising money
- The only 2 winning customer strategies brands need
- 3 ways discipline can increase long-term success
- How to stay nimble while growing your business
- The power of accountability for brand success
- Successful CPG brands need collaborators, champions on their side
- The funding gap is real, but not insurmountable
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