GET AN EDGE AS AN en­tre­pre­neur

Start­ing a new busi­ness? Then con­sider the fol­low­ing, writes Dudu Msomi

CityPress - - Business - Msomi is the CEO of Busara Lead­er­ship Part­ners

Ever since I can re­mem­ber, I have al­ways wanted to work for my­self, ei­ther on my own or by cre­at­ing a busi­ness with like-minded in­di­vid­u­als who would at­tract more peo­ple who wanted to do great things and push the bound­aries. Entrepreneurs are said to have cer­tain qual­i­ties that hold them in good stead to suc­ceed and some have be­come cliches, such as hav­ing a vi­sion, per­sis­tence, be­ing in­no­va­tive, cre­ative, hard-work­ing and so on.

But de­spite hav­ing those qual­i­ties, there will be many tough times, whether you are run­ning a start-up or an es­tab­lished com­pany, where as a busi­ness owner and leader, you be­gin to doubt your­self, your ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the need for your ser­vices and prod­ucts, re­gard­less of the mar­ket re­search you have done.

The peo­ple you had hoped and thought would be your big­gest sup­port­ers and “mar­keters” will not nec­es­sar­ily be. You will come to truly ap­pre­ci­ate the kind­ness of strangers. There is an ob­ser­va­tion that is widely shared in the world that dur­ing hard times, you will know for sure who your friends are.

Busi­ness suc­cess re­quires that you in­ten­tion­ally de­sign your busi­ness to suc­ceed. You need to walk into it with your eyes peeled to the re­al­i­ties of what it re­ally takes to make your busi­ness work. As an en­tre­pre­neur, you need to be pre­pared to en­ter a realm in your life that’s full of risk, un­knowns and a lot of de­ci­sions that you will have to make. To be pre­pared to en­ter a space in your life that will re­quire that you learn how to flex­i­bly char­ter your busi­ness into ex­is­tence, de­spite many blocks, hur­dles and hic­cups. It takes guts, pa­tience, per­sis­tence, strat­egy and courage to ac­com­plish your end goal, which is to cre­ate a busi­ness that cus­tomers will want to sup­port.

It is im­por­tant to have a per­sonal vi­sion for your life, not just the com­pany’s vi­sion. This will be im­por­tant as you spend time in the busi­ness. When times are hard, you will be tested. If you do not know where you want to go to as a hu­man be­ing and what you stand for, you will be swayed by any­thing and ev­ery­thing. You need to be able to live with your­self when the lights are off and when you are the only one who can hear your in­ner voice and thoughts. Do not do things you will re­gret. Life is too short for re­grets. When things are tough, that is when your true char­ac­ter and val­ues come to the fore. Make sure you will like the per­son you are and have be­come when you draw your last breath. As an en­tre­pre­neur, you will have to learn to draw from the deep­est parts of your­self, to have the guts and de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep go­ing re­gard­less of the calls not re­turned, emails deleted and ig­nored with­out even the ac­knowl­edge­ment of re­ceipt, and re­jected pro­pos­als that can just about de­stroy your spirit. You will have to learn to get your self-es­teem and self-worth from within. If there are ex­ter­nal af­fir­ma­tions forth­com­ing from your spouse, sib­lings, par­ents, friends and oth­ers, those will be the cherry on the top. What will keep you go­ing is the strength and mo­ti­va­tion you draw from within. Maybe a vi­sion larger than just be­ing fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent and be­ing your own boss will help you wake up ev­ery day. If you need to re­group to build up your fi­nances again, to relook at your busi­ness value propo­si­tion and to re­gain your strength by putting your busi­ness on hold and tak­ing a full­time job for a year or two, do so. Do not feel like a fail­ure. Do not. You are not. Do it. You will come back stronger and wiser. Al­ways write your own script. Most mas­ter­pieces took a lot of re­vi­sion and edit­ing. Build­ing a busi­ness is not that dif­fer­ent. When the go­ing gets tough, be in­spired by this Jo­hann Wolf­gang von Goethe quote: “Dif­fi­cul­ties in­crease the nearer we ap­proach the goal.”

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