When business isn’t going as well as you’d hope, it’s easy to feel discouraged and wonder if you haven’t made a huge mistake. I say hang in there, for two reasons. First, all businesses go through cycles. It may be that you are simply in a bad business cycle. The economy certainly is in a general down cycle, and when it turns around, your business might, too.
It also may be that in your crisis lies the very seed of your renewal. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, sometimes the best ideas occur during times of trouble. Let me give an example:
In 1984, Ronald Reagan was running for reelection against a younger Walter Mondale. At the first of their presidential debates, Reagan looked and sounded like a doddering old man. The buzz was that if he didn't do dramatically better the next time, he might lose the election.
Came time for the second debate and everyone was watching the 72-year-old President closely. Soon after the debate began, Reagan took the initiative and broached the subject. He acknowledged that age had become an issue. Then, in his next breath, the President promised everyone that even though age had become an issue in the campaign, he “would not exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.”
…use an opponent's weight and strength against him
With that quip, Reagan regained the momentum. His problem evaporated, the issue never again came up, and he walked off with the election. It was political Jujitsu.
If you think about it, businesses can also use a form of “business Jujitsu” to handle problems as well. The basic idea behind Jujitsu is to use an opponent's weight and strength against him. By turning the tables on your problem, by using leverage, balance, and motion, the Jujitsu master can overpower superior opponents, and a problem becomes an opportunity.
For the home-based entrepreneur, business problems may also sometimes be a hidden opportunity. Don't think I am saying that you need to have a positive mental attitude, and everything will be OK, because I am not. Business problems are real; I understand that.
But I also understand that business troubles can become overwhelming, and when that happens, it is hard to see opportunities. So “business Jujitsu” is an attitude you can adopt to turn problems into unique opportunities to grow your business.
Instead of being associated with a disaster, the company was praised for its quick and decisive actions.
The prototypical example of how to do it right comes from Johnson & Johnson. In 1986 its star product was Tylenol, which at the time accounted for about 15% of the company's profits.
That year, someone laced some Tylenol with cyanide and seven people died. A panic ensued. Instead of making excuses or hiding, Johnson & Johnson became proactive. They pulled all Tylenol from the shelves and invented tamperproof packaging. So rather than being associated with a disaster, the company was praised for its quick and decisive actions. Sales of Tylenol actually grew after its use of business jujitsu.
What about you? How can you use business obstacles to grow your home-based business? It begins with the right attitude. For example:
- Let's say you are a lawyer and the legislature just radically changed your specialty. Rather than feel defeated, the business Jujitsu master might learn the new law as quickly as possible and then teach it to other lawyers, making even more money than before.
- Let's say your main distributor just went out of business. Rather than panicking, the business Jujitsu master will see this as an opportunity to infuse his business with new products.
Part strategy, part mental trick, and part ancient plan of attack, business Jujitsu can keep you one step ahead and help take your business to new heights.