Hey entrepreneur, have you had your crisis of faith … this week?
Posted by Talitha Hlaka on May 12, 2017 3:25 PM SAST
Beaten down and broken? Come back fighting. Entrepreneur, the gurus are right – plan, prepare for success, do the hard work, take on the problems, including underestimated budgets and the multitude of little and huge failures. It’s never an easy path, but to achieve anything worthwhile, never is.
Similar to birthing a real baby, the start of a new venture is painful, long, bloody and definitely not pretty. Self-belief and belief in the venture is paramount, lifelines that you will need to repeatedly reach for as sometimes insurmountable challenges stack up against you. The one thing you cannot allow is to take anything personally. This can be the most difficult as bringing your baby to life is personal. No one can understand the passion and motivation you have and how you have invested all of yourself. When things go wrong along the way, it’s natural to feel despondent and to want to throw in the towel.
What serves the best of innovators and entrepreneurs well, is to try and feel that they are actively moving towards their end goal (a moving target in itself), while understanding that certain things are simply out of their control. Period. The sooner we accept that, we realise there are certain things we cannot control. It is pointless to resist them and best to make peace with those things. They immediately become easier to bear.
Some practical tips:
- Surround yourself with the most complementary team
- Interact with others working on start-ups
- Look at things from a different point of view
- Interact and engage with your environment
- Network, network, network. Dozens can and are willing to assist
- Empower yourself with knowledge
- Be patient
- Know your resources, internally and externally
- Return to your initial plan and objectively reconsider, tweaking and adapting where necessary
- Accept that success before failure is a rarity, and not nearly as fulfilling
- Harness your fear to direct it positively. It is a powerful emotion
- Don’t forget to enjoy the ride
- Read success stories – they are inspiring.
I have listed two of my favourite, inspirational start-up stories:
In 1995, a computer programmer, Pierre Omidyar, started auctioning off stuff on his personal website. AuctionWeb, as it was then known, was really just a personal project, but, when the amount of web traffic made it necessary to upgrade to a business Internet account, Omidyar had to start charging people fees. He actually hired his first employee to handle all the payment checks. The site is now known as eBay.
A trip to Milan gave a young marketer, Howard Schultz working for a Seattle coffee bean roaster an idea for upscale espresso cafes like they have all over Italy. His employer had no interest in owning coffee shops but agreed to finance Schultz’s endeavour. They even sold him their brand name, Starbucks.
These kinds of success occur everywhere, sometimes right next door, or just last week. You (or I!) could be next.
Raashida Khan is Account Director and Content Curator at Indigo New Media, a writer and an entrepreneur