Brower: Resiliency is the latest business buzz word |

Brower: Resiliency is the latest business buzz word

Patrick Brower
Grand Enterprise Initiative

Resilient is the latest buzzword in the world of business and entrepreneurial jargon.

Build that word into a grant request or work description and the world will be falling all over you because of your inherent genius for including such a novel concept in what it takes to succeed.

Of course, I totally agree that being resilient, or having resiliency, is a very admirable in any field of endeavor, and particularly in business. It’s actually a required trait of anyone attempting who wants to succeed in starting or expanding a business. And this is the case in Grand County and anywhere else in the world. In fact, being resilient is very close to the same thing as the idea of “failing well,” which I discussed in my last column.

So what, really, is resilience? It is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. (That’s right from the Google dictionary, so it must be right.)

But, of course, in the context of business start-ups and expansions, it really has many other connotations that are worth considering. But as far as the initial and primary meaning of the word, it’s clear that having resilience means a person is capable of enduring and coming back from set-backs and failures. Most entrepreneurs have come to understand that starting a business and expanding a business requires just that ability.

Why? Because a high percentage of business start-ups fail. And also because a high percentage of business start-ups or expansions are very difficult and prone to unimagined and unexpected hardships that can hurt a pocketbook and a person’s emotions and self-confidence.

So, yes, resilience is a great trait to have in the small business world.

But I think the word has a long list of other connotations that are worth pondering.

One is the resiliency of thought or opinion about a product or service they are offering. By this I mean a person is resilient if they are capable of giving up on the idea that their product or idea is going to be a raving success in the first year, or if they are capable of adapting their perhaps high expectations to those of the real world. Maybe it means they can also change their mind about a hard held belief. That’s one form of resilience.

Along those lines, another form of resilience is sort of counter intuitive to what some might believe. That’s because I think another form of resilience is the ability to know when to stop or discontinue a venture, which some might see as the opposite of toughness or recovering quickly. But really, accepting failure and or loss and then moving on is a form or resiliency not frequently acknowledged.

The other connotation of resiliency is its connection to the idea of flexibility. Rigidity of thought about any topic can interfere with a person’s ability to move forward with new ideas and new perspectives. How often do we hear the expression that a person or a business is “stuck in the past?” Perhaps those people aren’t resilient in the sense of being flexible or open-minded.

Then there’s the concept of resiliency when it comes to dealing with customers. A business person probably isn’t going to go far if he or she prejudges and denigrates customers based on skin color, income level or other physical characteristics. The epitome of customer service starts when a person is dealt with openly (resiliently) no matter what this situation or circumstance might be.

In fact, resilience is such a great trait that I think it’s something all of us should strive for in our daily lives, regardless if that’s related to business. I know I could stand to have more resilience in many aspects of my life.

Now in the world of politics, partisanship and on-line opinion, perhaps resiliency is something for which we can only hope.

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at

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