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Surviving vs. Thriving In Business: 3 Simple Steps To Escape The Survival Trap

We would venture a guess that when you started your business you didn’t do it with “survival” in mind. You did it with energy and passion and a commitment to building a thriving enterprise!

And as you may now realize, in entrepreneurship there will be many different seasons. Seasons of growth, expansion and success – your thriving periods – and seasons of uphill battles, frustration and stagnant growth – your surviving periods. 

It’s so normal to experience both in equal measure but it’s also pretty common to get stuck in survival mode. 

This usually means that some adjustments – either in your strategy or in your mindset – need to be made. 

We’ve got a few tips on getting yourself, and your business, out of the survival-only trap and into a period of ease, flow and expansion. 

thriving in business

First, let’s make sure we know the difference…

We all know what it means to survive and not just thrive but in terms of business, what does that look like?

Understanding the fundamental differences will help you create your escape plan for when you get stuck in survival mode.

Here’s what typically characterizes each state:

Simply Surviving in Business

  • Financial Strain: Just making ends meet each month, with little to no cushion.
  • “Putting out fires” Strategy: Responding to challenges as they arise instead of having a cohesive plan.
  • Spaghetti Strategy: Acting on impulse without any method of reproducing results, or lack of systems to even know the results of your efforts.
  • Limited Growth: Stagnant or very slow growth, with your energy going towards simply getting by day-to-day rather than expanding.
  • Constant High Stress: Daily stress and anxiety over business performance, stability and the future.

Totally Thriving In Business

  • Financial Health: Meeting and exceeding your financial goals.
  • Being Proactive and Strategic: Implementing future-focused strategies that meet your long-term business goals.
  • Replication/Iterations: Outreach that is both intentional and strategic that meets your targeted goals and an awareness of what this looks like and how it’s achieved.
  • Steady Growth: Experiencing consistent growth through product/service innovation, market expansion and your strong customer relationships.
  • Optimism and Positive Energy: Maintaining a positive outlook with the energy to pursue any new opportunities.

Once you know where you are in the cycle of surviving vs. thriving, it’s much easier to create your exit strategy!

3 Simple Steps To Start Thriving In Business

Tip 1: Revisit Your Business Goals

It can be hard to get out of survival mode if you’re not quite sure where you want to go.

The first step is to set, or revisit, the specific goals you have for your business. 

  • Create Clear & Action Focused Goals
    Look at your short and long term goals and decide if they still align with your business.

    Use the SMART strategy to help give you more direction and motivation!
    SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
  • Plan Actions To Meet Your Goals
    Your next steps should align to the goals you’ve set. This will allow you to get rid of the excess efforts that waste energy and resources. 

Tip 2: Focus On Your Growth Mindset

If you’ve spent too long in survival mode, it can be hard to shift your mindset toward growth. But your mindset is one of the most important parts of a truly thriving business! 

To get into a growth mindset:

  • See Your Challenges as Opportunities
    Simply decide that each challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a setback.
  • Focus on Learning & Development
    Keeping up with industry trends, learning new skills and adapting to new, relevant technologies will help to inspire and energize your mind! It can also boost your business and keep your products and services relevant and exciting. 
  • Take Action on Ideas
    Most entrepreneurs are visionaries. Ideas are plentiful, but follow through is more of a struggle. Commit to acting on your ideas, see them to completion, share them with your community and analyze results. Then reflect on the outcomes and make adjustments to improve instead of just starting something different.

Tip 3: Streamline & Innovate

If complex processes and outdated methods feel like they are slowing down your business, and contributing to survival mode, it’s time to break free!

  • Take A Critical Look At Operations
    Review and streamline your business processes. Identify where and what has become inefficient and the areas where automation can help to reduce workload and improve your overall efficiency.
  • Look For & Encourage Innovation
    Create an environment where new ideas are encouraged, welcomed and tested. Innovation isn’t just about technology; it can be about new ways of thinking, new business approaches or exciting marketing strategies.

    Sometimes the injection of new energy is the thing that will help pull you out of survival mode!


When you are caught in a survival loop, your best path out is to pause, re-evaluate and plan for forward motion. 

Start by going back to your ‘Why’, the reasons, goals and dreams you had for your business at the very beginning.

Then take strategic steps and make the necessary changes to help you regain your footing and shift back into a state of flow, ease and thriving.

Thriving businesses anticipate changes, they adapt quickly and they take opportunities to innovate and improve. Refine your plans and adjust your mindset to make room for those important changes. 

Part of what we do at Confluence Business Solutions is set you up to make the changes that will impact and benefit your business in big ways! 

Reach out to us and let’s see how we can get you thriving in business for years to come. 

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