How to Navigate Setbacks Without Compromising Your Company's Success

Monday, September 12, 2022

Many companies experience setbacks from their reputation taking a hit to the loss of a major client. In these situations, there isn’t time for CEOs and business leaders to feel sorry for themselves – they have a company to run, employees to keep in a job and a duty to their shareholders to strive for better.

Article 5 Minutes
How to Navigate Setbacks Without Compromising Your Company's Success

Every setback is different and the approach companies take in their response can avoid compromising their success while even improving their reputation. Let’s look at the best ways companies can respond to adversity and navigate their setbacks successfully.

What are business setbacks?

Businesses must fight for their success, from wrestling customers away from their competitors to making their brand shine brightly, there are plenty of pitfalls to watch out for. Some of the most common business setbacks include:

  • Losing a client
  • Key staff member leaving
  • Reputational damage
  • Cash flow issues
  • Increased competition
  • Product recalls
  • Economic downturn

Any of the above setbacks can strike even the largest companies, from a failure to innovate, such as Blockbuster, to the Europe-based courier Hermes reportedly changing its name to Evri in light of its poor delivery reputation.

Focus on what’s under your control

Setbacks are an understandable worry for businesses, particularly if they lose a large client, but wallowing in pity and stressing about the future won’t change what has happened. Instead, a company needs to switch its attention away from negative aspects to the positives.

As a business leader, dedicate your company’s activities and energy to the things under your control, which means delivering outstanding service to your existing customers and always moving forward. You may be facing financial hardship in the short term but it’s important to maintain momentum to ensure that your long-term ambitions are met.

Focus on the things that your company can fix and continue to do, no matter how small they are. Take a SMART approach to these tasks to ensure they’re done to the best of your company’s ability.


If your company's reputation has taken a hit, the best way to overcome it is to show your customers and target audience how good and reliable your service is. The more quality work you do, the better it’s for your company’s reputation and if you can continue to provide excellent service for your existing customers then that’s what you should do.

If you’ve lost a major client, go above and beyond for your other clients to showcase the value of your service to their needs or operations to enhance your reputation. By putting your efforts into over-delivering, you can prove to your clients what value you provide them.

Focusing on being productive and producing high-quality goods or services in times of adversity also helps you to keep the faith that your company is worth fighting for. You must trust that things will work out and one or two bumps in the road are not a reason to completely change direction or stop.

Take the opportunity to grow

If your company has faced a setback, it can serve as an opportunity to take an introspective look at your operations. Why did your company lose a key employee to a rival? Is it because your employee benefits aren’t at the same level as others? Perhaps there are barriers to career development for employees and they seek new pastures to follow their professional aspirations.

In this situation, you may wish to re-evaluate your organizational structure, take responsibility for any potential shortcomings and adapt. Sustained business success hinges on overcoming troubling times and using them as a way to improve your operations, protecting yourself from the same setbacks in the future.

Turn digital marketing setbacks around

Digital marketing is essential for the vast majority of modern businesses. From improving your Google ranking to social media communications and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, digital marketing helps companies put themselves on the map.

The digital landscape for companies is competitive and you may suffer frequent setbacks such as ranking drops, which see your company rank lower for key search terms. This has a knock-on effect on your website conversions, organic traffic and site visits. Fortunately, there are some quick fixes to help overcome such setbacks and ensure your digital marketing remains strong.

Here are some of the key ways to improve any ranking, traffic or conversion setbacks:

  • Improve content quality: The quality of your content is one of the most important aspects of how well your website ranks. Consider hiring a professional copywriter or purging old content and blogs to remove poor-quality content from your site.
  • Gain backlinks: Backlinks dramatically improve your company’s ranking but the quality of those links matters as much as the quantity. Consider guest posting on some high-ranking websites to improve your backlink quality.
  • Tracking and analytics: If your company’s traffic takes a significant hit, it’s important to understand why. Tracking and analytics tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics can allow businesses to understand where their traffic is coming from, which key terms are effective and which are no longer performing. This is an opportunity to dig into what is fundamental to the success of your website and ensure it’s always in focus.
  • Add FAQs: It’s estimated Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second, and many of those are simple questions. If your rankings drop, adding value to your website by answering those questions helps bring traffic to your site.

Communicate with your employees and customers

It’s important to publicly own a setback that your business is experiencing, rather than denying it. Confront the bad news and turn them into an opportunity to create a stronger strategy to turn things around.

Your employees will be nervous about how the setback may impact their jobs so keep an open communication channel to ensure they’re kept in the loop. It’s also important to inform your customers of any potential delays to your service sooner rather than later to help manage expectations.

This can also help in removing unnecessary pressure to try and provide goods or services in a rushed and potentially incomplete manner. In the case of a product recall, it’s not just your customers who will be impacted, your entire supply chain could face disruptions so again it’s important for managing expectations.

Chester Avey

Chester Avey has over 10 years of experience in cybersecurity and business management. Since retiring he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience through his writing.



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