in Leadership, Small Business

I recently spoke with a small business owner who was reeling from a discouraging interaction with a customer. This customer stole merchandise worth several hundred dollars and refused to pay for it or to acknowledge any wrong-doing. When something like this happens to a small business owner, it is hard to open the doors the next day, emotionally and financially. With no budget for fraud expenses, many small business owners feel such losses in a deeply personal way.

Failure is an event, not a person. - Zig Ziglar

Read on for some good reasons to help you keep going amid discouragement and financial setbacks:

  1. Remember that this is an event, not the total of all of your experiences in business. Your business is not a failure. As Zig Ziglar is fond of saying, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Failure does not characterize your business either.
  2. Prevent this from happening again. If you lost money due to unpaid receivables, how can you screen customers more thoroughly? If an employee stole from you, what security measures can you add?
  3. Your business is probably still healthy. Put this episode in perspective. Assuming that there is a monetary loss, divide that amount by your yearly or monthly sales to see how significant it is statistically. While it may feel disastrous and deeply hurtful, it may have no measurable impact on the health of your business.
  4. You are in business for some really good reasons. Remember your mission. Most business owners are not solely working for financial rewards. Good businesses are driven by a compelling mission. What is it that your business does that makes customers happy and keeps them coming back?
  5. Giving up may make you cynical. Keep trusting, and keep going. You may need new security measures, but business is all about people. It is personal. It is about building relationships and creating value. It leaves both the business and the customer enriched. That is worth a few losses along the way.

When you face such setbacks, how do you keep going? If you have advice for other small business owners, leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

* Featured Image: Theft by m. Aquila. Used by attribution.