GUEST BLOG: How to overcome obstacles in business

Obstacles. We face them all the time. It doesn't matter if you're an entrepreneur, a business person, a writer*, an athlete or an entire country. These are the complications that hinder the progression of your goals. However, I find, with the right balance of strategic thinking and a good dose of persistence, obstacles can actually turn into prime motivators. Here are my strategies:

(*I particularly suffer from writers' block!)

Map it out

The proverbial has hit the fan. The first thing I do is pick myself off the ground and try to work out what happened, why it happened and where I was going. Map this out. Not only will this process create a path of logic, it may help identify new obstacles you can avoid. I personally use butcher paper and whiteboards as I find they promote brevity and keep things nice and visual, but use any process that works for you.

Test what you know

Don't ever underestimate the value of past experiences and how they can apply now - empirical methodology is where scientists start when they enter unexplored territory and you can use some of this in your own problem solving. Take some time out, think about how you have dealt with major obstacles in the past and what the resolution involved. You might pull out a forgotten tactic, an emotional response, or a resource that can help you push through. This might also be a good time to hit up your contacts on LinkedIn and see what you can learn from their experiences. (As it's always better to learn from someone else's mistakes!)

Return to your vision

Sometimes the most confronting thing you can be asked when you're starting out is 'why' you're doing it. As the diary becomes full and the business plan stretches in different directions, it's easy to let your vision sit unnoticed in the background and that's when issues arise.

Before they threaten your business confidence, dig out the original vision and remind yourself of why. If what you're doing doesn't align itself with your primary goal and original vision then you should ask yourself why you are not doing it.

Go to lunch

Lunch could be a sandwich in the park with the sunglasses on and the headphones in, it could be three courses and wine with a trusted friend, or it could be a metaphor for simply making some space in your head. Whatever it is for you, make sure you do it to clear your mind.

In Paris I had a few issues with the direction of the business, I took a lunch break (aka gastronomic adventure) in the Eiffel Tower and came back refreshed, clear minded and scored a meeting within minutes of returning to the office. (Evidenced in the Paris video above)

Whilst it's desirable to have everything go your way, the truth is something will not quite work out. Stepping away calmly and asking the right questions of yourself and others are the best things you can possibly do when things don't go to plan.

Here's the latest video installment of Sebastien's quest to become the world's smallest multinational, as he hits Paris:

Get more advice on doing business abroad

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