Your business is developing nicely, showing solid growth backed by a quality product or service, a strong management team and a pronounced need in the market.
Then the bottom falls out.
It doesn't really matter what is causing the problem - it could be anything from a management team defection, a competitor introducing a better product or service, a general recession, a rapid increase in the price of raw materials, a fire destroying your inventory or a million other things.
That begs the question: What would you do to save your business?
And, from past experience, here's the answer: You may surprise yourself with what you can or will do to stay afloat. Your survival instincts will kick in - pressuring your entrepreneurial spirit to do what it has to to survive.
Desperate times call for desperate measures
I recently heard an entrepreneur talking about how his business began struggling, and he needed to take out a home equity line of credit to make payroll. His business later stabilized, but he claimed he would never use a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or similar loan for business purposes again.
I called BS. At some point, he'll hit another speed bump and will have to take unpleasant measures to deal with it. Maybe a better idea is to secure a line of credit against the business instead of the house, but taking out loans is never pleasant.
We're emotionally attached to our businesses. In a sense, they're our children -- and just as you'd do anything to help your kids, you'd do the same for your business.
In one sense, you might do more because your business is your means of taking care of your spouse and children.
Parental and entrepreneurial love are similar
In fact, a study published in 2017 in the journal Human Brain Mapping concluded that the emotional and brain responses entrepreneurs displayed toward their business were similar to the responses parents had regarding their children.
Finnish researchers used fMRIs, functional magnetic resonance imaging, to measure brain activity of both male entrepreneurs and fathers, discovering similar responses when entrepreneurs viewed their business and fathers looked at their kids. In both cases, regions of the brain association with reward, emotional processing and social understanding were impacted.
Moving away from science, personal experience shows me that entrepreneurs tend to be driven to succeed and won't accept failure.
An entrepreneur who's taken the time to develop a concept for a business, secure funding to get it off the ground and nurture it toward at least some degree of success is not likely to bail at the first sign of trouble. Competitive, driven businesspeople will take it as a challenge to ensure that the business will succeed.
Quite simply, entrepreneurs don't like to lose. Experience shows that no matter the arena -- the business world, pickup basketball, Words With Friends, nicest lawn on the block -- entrepreneurs will go above and beyond to succeed.
Of course, there are some situations where it probably is best to walk away from a troubled business, but those kinds of problems usually are more structural in nature and are fodder for a different column.