Adapt to Survive

Adapt to Survive

Smart Businesses must Adapt to Survive. As the environment around our business changes, only the business owners prepared to adapt will continue to exist into the decades to come.

P.T Barnum was a revolutionary businessman in his time. The film ‘The Greatest Showman’ is a story of the ups and downs of business and the success of one man who would not give up his dream. 

Starting from a life of poverty, the man full of dreams saw the potential in others and the opportunity in business long before anyone else. I’d say he had all the hallmarks of an entrepreneur.

Barnum was thrown a lucky break when he was able to secure a loan without any real collateral. So, the dream began being built. Unfortunately, no-one wanted what he offered and he just couldn’t sell his product (a museum of curios). 

With no assets, and no customers, he had a bright idea and sought out living, real life curios – people with an interest factor. The marginalised, intriguing and shocking and gave them a purpose. It started to work and the customers came… but so did the critics.

One by one, the reviews were merciless, the public protested and his own family were ridiculed. His daughter suffered rejection and his problems mounted.

Instead of giving up…

Barnum decided to adapt. He hired a prominent aristocratic artist and an opera singer to add to his credibility as a business. It worked and the money poured in, the tours increased and his family were accepted by society.

In the midst of success, a scandal threatened his marriage and his wife left. He then lost his star singer. Still reeling from the events, an arsonist set his circus building alight and the whole business literally went up in flames.

How do you come back from that? Always the entrepreneur, P.T Barnum thought about the problem. There was no money, a bunch of out of work performers, no star singer and he’d lost his wife. His business partner handed him a little money and he came up with the brilliant idea that eventually became one of his best – the circus tent.

We know the rest. If some of these events had not happened, would we have ever enjoyed a circus tent spectacular as a child? 

At every turn, P.T Barnum needed to decide if he would keep going or give up. Circumstances around us will threaten our business and we also must decide if we will adapt or give up.

A deadly pandemic, economic downturn, personal issues, cashflow, health problems and much more affect small business every day. It is the reason most small businesses fail in the first five years.

The truth is, every problem has a solution and sometimes it all depends on your outlook. If you are having trouble finding the solution to your particular business problem, engage a business coach or mentor. They will see a solution quicker than you can when you are focussed on the problem. 

and … decide to Adapt to survive