GET AN EDGE AS AN entrepreneur
Starting a new business? Then consider the following, writes Dudu Msomi
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.”