Why resilience matters when you run your own retail business

BY Australian Retailers Association
03 April 2019

Resilience could be the greatest retail skill you possess, but you might not even know it’s one you have. So why does it matter?

Think about it. Resilience is a trait that makes powerful self-belief possible. Choosing to back yourself when making important decisions about your stores, selecting staff, designing a business plan or planning for the future is the ultimate act of self-belief.

So, what exactly is resilience? Dr Rosemary Fisher, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology says that resilience is: “A trait or set of characteristics displayed by people who are optimistic, hardy, tenacious, have self-efficacy, persist at things and maintain emotional and cognitive control under pressure.”

We can build our resilience. And when we do, we embrace an attribute that powers us through the hours of hard work it takes to make a store work and prepares us mentally and physically for taking the risks that come with starting out solo in retail.

When you’re alone, juggling tasks, dealing with clients and customers and staying “on” while staying on your feet, it’s a definite source of strength.

That’s why The Truth About Resilience report found that 45% of self-starters see themselves as their greatest source of drive, but 66% of those growing businesses from scratch say they’re harder on themselves than if they were someone else’s employee.

Running your own business isn’t easy. It means staying across all aspects of what you do. When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’re responsible for keeping your retail business on the straight and narrow. So what are the things that self-starters see as their biggest challenges?

Of the respondents to RedZed’s research, 37% called out cash flow as the number one obstacle to business success. When you have supply and demand to manage, this is super important.

Maintaining work-life balance was the most pressing issue for 29% of those surveyed, and this becomes even more of an issue during busy retail periods. 24% saw competition as the number one hurdle they had to face.

Some of us work best under challenging conditions, but resilience helps make tough times seem way simpler, especially when you’re working alone. The Truth About Resilience report has identified what self-starters feel they’re missing when it comes to surviving stressful circumstances:

23% of self-starters want more time to relax, 21% want more support and 15% say money could help them out when things get difficult. Surprisingly, 50% of men said that finding a mentor was important, compared to only 11% of women.

Resilience is a skill that can be cultivated, not just one that belongs to a special few. Dr Tim Bednall, Senior Lecturer in Management at Swinburne University of Technology says that “resilience partly comes from a person’s mindset, and from that point of view, you can train resilience by helping people to think about their negative experiences differently.”

That means staying positive is super important when it comes to staying resilient. Thankfully, Australian small-business owners are a pretty confident bunch. The report found that 77% are optimistic about future success, with 27% feeling like the future of their business looks very promising.

To read the report or find out more information, visit thexyzed.com/the-truth-about-resilience

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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