The greatest learnings for me in business has been the importance of leadership and resilience. Don’t you agree? The world of small business presents many challenges to the owners of these businesses, that they wouldn’t necessarily encounter as part of a larger company – such as isolation, high amounts of stress, and trying to keep up with the ‘big boys’ while on a much smaller budget. Owning a business isn’t for the faint of heart, but the good news is that there are steps business owners can take to improve their resilience so that they can better handle the many ups and downs that are part and parcel of running a small to medium-sized business. Here are 10 ways to build your resilience as a business owner.

Find a space to reflect, away from work

Whether it’s at your kitchen table in the morning with a cup of coffee, or while you’re at the gym, it’s easier to reflect on challenges and issues you’re facing and find solutions when you’re in a different environment.

Set achievable goals

Goals have to be realistic; you’re never going to achieve all your goals in one day, so make sure you’re setting tasks that are actually achievable within the timeframes you’ve given.

Practice mindfulness

This is fantastic for anyone, but small business owners really benefit from daily mindfulness exercises as they help you change your reactions to things and make more appropriate choices. Something as simple as a daily breathing exercise can make a big difference.

Find your tribe

When you have a great support group to fall back on, it becomes a lot easier to deal with difficult situations. There are many great groups on Facebook, for example, for small business owners, where you can get support from other owners. Finding your ‘tribe’ means you have a group of people who you trust, admire, respect and can be open with – you know you’ll get the feedback you need, as well as incredible support too. Being able to bounce ideas off people is also another huge benefit of becoming part of a community of small business owners like you.

Take responsibility

When something goes wrong, as a small business owner you have to get on with it and fix the situation – you can’t just sit in the corner and wait for somebody else to solve the problem. The more you do this, the stronger you’ll feel.


Whether you prefer after every project, or at the end of the day or week, reflecting on what you’ve accomplished and what lessons you’ve learned gives you perspective and helps you find what you can take away to apply to a future project. Feeling prepared is key to being more resilient.

Acknowledge when you’ve done a good job

It’s easier to reduce stress and silence the doubting voice in your head that says “you can’t do this” when you’ve taken the time to appreciate your successes and find the good in each day.

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” — Charles F Kettering

Look after your health

When you make the time to nourish your body with good food and move it with exercise, you’re giving yourself the best chance at remaining positive, even in the face of tough situations. It’s hard to feel like you can tackle a problem when you’ve slept poorly, haven’t exercised and have been eating too much junk – so improve your resilience simply by looking after your health.

Be realistic, not negative

Negativity breeds failure, which is the last thing a small business owner wants. Being realistic about things doesn’t mean being negative – acknowledge what’s happening, no matter how bad it may be, then start making a realistic plan on how to overcome the issue. If you’re negative about a situation, you’ll miss solutions and not try hard enough – or at all – because you’ve already decided it’s hopeless. It’s important to practice looking at things realistically to help you realize that while you may have limitations, there’s almost always a way to overcome things.

Do what needs to be done

If you never try, you’ll never fail – sounds nice in theory, but in practice, your business will never be successful, and you will fold under pressure that an owner with resilience would be able to handle. Do what’s necessary, even if it’s uncomfortable; back yourself and take risks, and be ready to get back up and try again when things go wrong. Mistakes and failures are learning opportunities – don’t be scared of them, learn to embrace them! You’ll feel more courageous as you conquer more fears and negative situations.

Small business owners don’t have the same resources as their larger counterparts, and at times it can be overwhelming navigating the world of small business, but if you work hard on building up your resilience as a small business owner, you’ll find yourself rising to the top of the heap. It’s all about taking responsibility and being accountable, looking after your body and mind, being realistic, reflecting, acknowledging your efforts, setting achievable goals and being prepared to do what it takes. Practice these and you’ll quickly find your resilience growing – you’ll be ready to handle whatever comes your way.

Contact the team at LeadershipHQ to find out about our Leadership Coaching and Programs for SME’s and Family Businesses at

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