So You want to be an Entrepreneur?
Our second blog of the year continues the initial theme, entrepreneurship, and offers some home truths about starting your own business.
It could be said that starting a business is asking for trouble, because one way or another trouble will surely find every entrepreneur at some time. So if you’re not resilient by nature, don’t apply for the job!
Be it bad debts, supplier disputes, employee troubles, equipment malfunctions or a host of other problems, running a business is a series of trials and tribulations to test even the most optimistic of entrepreneurs. Patience and stamina are prerequisites, along with the ability to cope with all setbacks and disappointments.
None of these challenges will be highlighted in any business plan, indeed, they are rarely mentioned at all. They are, however, the very warp and weft of an entrepreneurial life, and these crises cannot be delegated or ignored. If you are the owner and chief executive and MD and FD then you must roll up your sleeves and overcome all difficulties.
A quick win is also rare, almost every worthwhile enterprise takes at least five years to develop – and up to a ten year marathon is not unusual. Having the confidence and spirit to push ahead, despite losses, errors, difficulties and traumas is a prerequisite for those who want to be entrepreneurs.
Sales and profits come slowly and painfully, most things are much harder and take longer than you first imagined. Innovation is especially fraught, but trouble can be a stimulant, it demands action, and it is the riskier stuff that provides the most excitement, and the greatest rewards.
To deal with all this, all entrepreneurs must be mentally fit, as pressures can push founders to breakdowns or even suicide, yet for most entrepreneurs the attitude is almost always that it is better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.
Of course, there are great moments of achievement and victory, and plenty of fun and satisfaction to be had from being your own boss. You have the pride of ownership and the creative delight of building something meaningful, generating employment and making customers happy. There is something intense about the commitment, and all the risky stuff provides the most excitement and the greatest rewards and as your own boss you have a sense of purpose, and direction.
It might be that if budding entrepreneurs really knew at the start of their journey what trials lay in store, none of them would ever start, but that said entrepreneurs are innately creative, often idiosyncratic and arguably maverick types, possessing unshakeable belief and hunger, and imbued with a perennial can – do mentality.
17 January 2019