Rarely in business does everything work out as planned.
That doesn’t mean it’s pointless to have a plan in the first place. But adaptability is also a necessary part of any successful business or career.
It’s that quality that Becca Brown has used to become successful in two separate careers — the first with Goldman Sachs and the second as founder of Solemates, a line of women’s shoe care products.
Brown says that the best piece of advice she ever got — a simple three words — came from a college lacrosse coach: “Act as if.”
Brown explained to Business Insider:
“It’s a mentality, a state of mind, a perspective. Things are not always going to go your way in business, in your career, and in life. There will be setbacks and disappointments, and you may be tempted to get down on yourself, but you have to act as if — as if it didn’t happen. As if it didn’t faze you. As if things had gone your way.”
At the time the advice wasn’t in the context of business, it certainly applies. Whether your marketing plan isn’t gaining the results you expected or an employee issue is slowing down operations, you have to keep going.
The advice can be especially useful as far as marketing or customer-facing operations are concerned. When your business has setbacks or struggles, it is absolutely necessary to take note of them and make changes or adjustments moving forward. But your customers don’t need or want to be apprised of all your internal happenings.
When you act as if whatever unexpected struggle or surprise hasn’t fazed you, you continue to put out the same products, service, and image that your customers have come to expect. And if you are able to learn from the struggles or even maybe see a silver lining in some of the unexpected things that come your way, they could even prove to be beneficial over time for your business. You just have to be willing to adapt.
So far, the advice has definitely worked out for Brown’s business endeavor. Solemates currently has products in more than 3,000 stores around the world. And the company sold several hundred thousand heel guards, its signature product, last year.