In many situations as an entrepreneur, you have to take a stand both for yourself and your company. Conflict with clients, suppliers, providers and team members inevitably happens at some point. Not with every person, and not every day, but you’ll have to figure out what conflict and the aftermath looks like for you. And, believe me, knowing when it’s time to let go of conflict beforehand is definitely better than trying to decide in the moment.
So how do you know when to draw the line and when to let it go? (I know what you’re thinking, and let’s just get it out of the way up front.)
Stand Up for Your Business
Standing up for yourself and avoiding exploitation by potential clients or partners, especially when they come into the relationship from a position of power, is never easy. If you’re just starting out or are expanding, and the business you’re dealing with is an established presence, they can put a lot of pressure on you to let them have their way.
But as the leader of a business, you need to advocate for yourself. Because no one else will. So how do you start standing up for yourself and your company?
First, remember there’s a reason you started your business. You have passion and vision. And your company is the result of that vision. Keep in mind what your business does and why. If you’re remotely successful now or want to be in the future, it’s because you offer something valuable and unique to your audience.
That means no matter how powerful an organization you negotiate with, you bring something meaningful to the table. Never lose sight of what your company is worth. And, while you don’t always need to say it out loud, make sure no one else forgets either.
Second, promoting yourself isn’t always comfortable, so don’t. Shift your mentality, and start promoting your company. As entrepreneurs, our businesses really are our babies, so start fighting for them as such.
And, as you probably know, there’s nothing as intimidating as a determined parent. Nothing and no one stands in a parent’s way when they decide their kid needs help. Parents storm into principal’s offices, dominate PTA meetings, and yes, even lift cars when necessary.
Your company is your child. So apply that same tenacity when advocating for it.
But Know When to Lay Off
And, of course, there’s always a caveat. Don’t be the parent everyone hates, because they’re yelling at games or PTA meetings. A successful business needs connections. So collaborate in a way that makes everyone happy with the results. Why does one person need to win when you both can?
The other side is looking out for their best interests just as you are. When you understand where your clients, partners, and even competitors, are coming from, civil discourse to achieve mutually beneficial results is much easier.
Sometimes it Doesn’t Work Out
Yes, sometimes you get screwed. The short end of the stick isn’t fun, but it happens. There should be consequences for bad behavior, but if you go too far, your reputation will be damaged instead of theirs.
There’s also enormous power in turning adversity into advantage. Consider how every situation can be used to help your company in the long run rather than getting bogged down in negativity. Or sucked into a cycle of revenge. Stay positive, and keep your end goal in mind.
Get Out of Your Head
So get out of your head, and learn to start advocating for your company rather than yourself. Just don’t get carried away with any given fight and lose sight of the bigger picture.
Get off your duff!
image credit: Bigstock/Flynt