Council Post: How Eight Entrepreneurs Turned These Business Challenges Into Opportunities For Growth

While it may not always feel like it in the moment, business challenges are great opportunities for growth. When we’re thrown outside of our comfort zones, we build confidence and see our strengths. This is especially true for business leaders and entrepreneurs, who face a constant stream of challenges that can often be turned into positive opportunities.

Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared experiences where they used a challenge as a learning opportunity. They describe how it affected them and how they used the lesson to improve their business.

1. We Had A Partner Freeze Us Out

We had a partner essentially freeze us out. They were a key part of keeping our operations moving, and without them, we began to grind to a halt. We were forced to think critically and improve our operations, which were not functioning as well as they should have been. We implemented far superior procedures and sought out new partners. In doing so, we found multiple partners who were better for us as a whole, as well as repaired the damaged relationship by showing improved operative procedures. The lesson here is to build in processes and feedback loops along the way to be constantly improving efficiency in order to avoid that kind of challenge altogether. – Liam Leonard, DML Capital

2. I Underestimated The Competition

When I started my business, I believed that I would have everything under control and that the competition would never affect me because my product was unique in the market—serious mistake. Not only did I realize that the existing competition affected me permanently, but products similar to mine also began to appear. Apparently, these companies had not been as innocent as me and had anticipated that the game was more difficult than I thought. They took advantage and left my company far behind. This challenge was actually a growth opportunity. I had to go inside and personally work on the marketing of my company, so I learned a lot. After a lot of effort, I was able to lead the competition again. I now have a more complete perspective and the knowledge necessary to make assertive decisions. – Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve

3. I Struggled To Meet Deadlines And Deprioritized Self-Care

The first growth spurt of my business was the most challenging because it was my first time experiencing growth as a new entrepreneur. Meeting deadlines was a huge obstacle for me and I constantly felt like I was falling behind. But what I learned through the exhaustion was that I needed to take better care of myself during stressful times. I was so caught up in running my business that it left me perpetually overwhelmed. This affected my productivity and caused me to feel like I couldn’t get anything done. Once I took more time for myself, slept more than a couple of hours a night and ate healthier meals instead of junk food, I saw a significant boost in my mood, energy levels and productivity—and it made me a better business owner. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms


4. I Grew Too Fast As A Solopreneur

I took on too many projects and, while I did outsource, I should have devoted time to building teams and had more faith in myself as a leader who could develop an agency. Being an immigrant and having struggled to make it to the top in New York agencies, I felt that agencies with dedicated teams were not going to be the model I wanted, I was wrong. Being on my own was a big challenge, but managing others is more of a challenge, and so worth it! The growth I have attained as a leader managing a successful SEO agency has been one of the proudest elements of my career. Seeing others grow and move on, which was also a fear when building a team, is also an incredible feeling as a leader. Do not be afraid of change and growing out! – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

5. Demand Became Too Huge To Handle As We Were

As remote work grew during the pandemic, demand for our time tracking app grew as well. To cope with this, we hired across all our teams and grew from 80 to 140+ remote employees. It was a challenge, but it was also an opportunity, as we were able to attract good talent who were looking for remote work options during the lockdown. In response to the momentary demand, we started to develop our services for remote as well as hybrid work models. With more members on our marketing, sales, support, customer service and every other team, we were able to position our services for all work models and all business sizes. Every challenge also opens up new opportunities. Despite the lockdown, we not only were able to grow our business, but we were also able to add new market segments. – Liam Martin,

6. We Lost 80% Of Our Business Due To Covid-19

In the first wave of Covid, we lost 80% of business due to our clients cutting down their marketing budgets in order to sit through the uncertainty. Our crisis mode started with protecting our most valuable asset: our team. We first restructured our business to protect their salaries, to ensure that our employees felt safe. The next step was to think creatively about lead generation. We recognized that it wasn’t just us who struggled with business, but everyone around us. The end of uncertainty was nowhere near. We decided to launch a free hotline where every day our team was on call for several hours helping business leaders think creatively about their communications to get clients back. We talked to around 150 businesses, helped many save their companies and grew our own business twice thanks to that initiative. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs

7. We Made Changes To A Product That Resulted In Negative Reviews

When we bought a product and added it to our portfolio, we made a few changes that immediately led to a slew of negative ratings. The customers who used the product were unhappy and let us know. It led to our product getting lower star ratings almost overnight. The big lesson we learned was to be more prepared and not to take the impact of any change for granted. We’ve always tested new updates to our products thoroughly. But this experience served as a strong lesson to remind us to understand our audience and their expected experiences, and to make new releases after careful and intensive testing. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. I Juggled A Full-Time Job While Launching My Product

In the early days of my business, I was still working full time while working on my product. At one point, I realized that enough people wanted my product that I had to devote all my time to it. The saying that you just have to make a great product and people will beat a path to your door was not true for me. It soon wasn’t enough to be a good developer—I had to become a marketer if I wanted to make my business survive. It was a dramatic shift from building the product myself to focusing on things like content marketing and customer support. It was challenging but necessary. My insight for every business owner is that you need to step back from day-to-day activities to grow your business. Focus on marketing and big-picture issues to give your product the best chance to get big. – Blair Williams, MemberPress