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We often host events here at Mindpark, at the Open Space. Recently the Breakfast & Ideas events, held here once a month, had Sofia Englund as a guest. After the event, Asta Nordlund from VentureLab asked her about her start as an entrepreneur, and advices she had for others about overcoming setbacks.

Sofia Englund runs the travel agency TravelResearch, that offers travel experiences to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Dubai. She is also a former student from Lund University and studied the program Service Management with a focus on tourism.

Having run her business for several years now, Sofia has learned a lot about running a business – and has especially good insights into the tourism industry. In her talk, she touches upon various struggles and obstacles that she has come across and the ways of managing these setbacks. She has 3 concrete advices to share for others about overcoming setbacks.

1. Finding your niche and dare to widen your horizons

When facing a setback that seems difficult to overcome. Try to widen your perspectives and try to see what’s around you. The solution to your problem might be closer than you think. By trying to see a problem from different perspectives it often shines new light on the problem, and it can be easier to overcome the setback.

As for setbacks in building your business, the solution can be a good idea to narrow things down. Try to be more niched in your business initiatives, and for instance focus on a certain target group or part of the market that is seemingly unexplored. For instance, TravelResearch focuses on tailor-made travel experiences, in order for people to experience the culture of the destinations in the best possible way.

2.  Stable partners and strong relationships

Cultivating strong and reliable business partners and relationships can make it easier to overcome an obstacle. It can lead to new viewpoints, insights and prevent major setbacks. As for Sofia’s own experience of running a business with partners from different cultures. Finding a few stable and strong relationships is crucial.

However, Sofia also reminds us to trust our own instinct. At the end of the day, you know your business best, and business relationships and partners can fall apart.

3. Handle difficult clients or customers coolheaded

Dealing with clients can sometimes be difficult, and even frustrating at times. During Sofia’s journey with her company she has come across multiple situation where she has had to deal with difficult clients. Sofia gives the advice to try to never take it personally, don’t become sad or angry, even if you might not think that the client or customer is ”always right”, as the saying goes. You must handle the situation as coolheaded as possible.

If you have to respond to an upsetting email or phone-call. Take a step back, and reply when you have calmed down. At the end of the day, by handling that so-called ”difficult client” in a good and calm manner, the client might leave with a good experience and will recommend your business to others. Word of mouth is always something to strive for. That’s how you grow.