Entrepreneurship – When things get rough, one easy way out is to run and plead for mercy. You hoist the white flag and request a truce. I understand. You want to live to fight another day. It’s reasonable. The reasons look you in the eye and give you cue to hit the quit button. This feeling is however mutual. Trust me you are never walking alone. Personally, I have always had the quit button close to my gut, it was as easy and consistent as I blinked. So quitting or thought of it is a mutual expedition. Perhaps, it is global.
SO YOU WANT TO QUIT, WHY? I may be wrong but I am guessing you want to quit because of low patronage or ROI in the first few years of operation, maybe due to poor management or ill-financial approach. These are known reasons businesses fold up actually. Another reason is that you might not have been lucky with your team; maybe they aren’t faithful with their deliverables. Or could your reason be that competition is choking your business up? The economic reality and market mechanism might not have favored your efforts either; has it affected your price, sale, offering and made you tie down capital? Is the cost of running the business another headache? Or has your recurrent doubled in the last financial year and cost of running the business to taste is now a pain? Like cost of electricity, rent, right, resources, transportation, logistics to mention just a few? Is it your business model that is wrong or the product/service you offer or the market you offer it to? I get it; you have strong reasons to pull out of the entrepreneurial race. It is wisdom to run than to fail. Good stunt. Giving up is much easy I suppose than………..
OKAY, ENOUGH OF THAT: As an entrepreneur, many things can go wrong. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years. It’s a fact that whatever small business you are managing now may not survive a lust-rum. Reasons include those things that are kicking you out of the business right now. Your role as an entrepreneur isn’t to confirm this theory but rather invalidate it. I would think a redefining feature of an entrepreneur is the ability and will to correct every wrong in entrepreneurship. Everything would go wrong unless you make them right and you are positioned to do so.
BUT FIRST, I would like you to do a self-inventory. Do you really think you are an entrepreneur? Do you have the passion for it? If you do, would you consider yourself to have what it takes to manage it or you want to leave the responsibility to someone else?
In his book, (Like a Virgin- Secret they won’t teach), Richard Branson wrote “The launch stage is also an ideal time for you to decide whether you are suited to the CEO position. While entrepreneurs have the dynamism to get something started, and often create opportunity where there was none, not all of them are good at running businesses. Recognizing your own weakness is essential to your company’s future” he further wrote, “At the end of this process, if you and your advisers agree that you are suited to the role then you may decide to stay on as CEO and help your business grow. If you do better in the role of entrepreneur instead, then you need to find a suitable senior manager to take your place”
I have a friend who considers himself an entrepreneur by merely seeing opportunities and taking advantage without directly involving in the day-to-day running. Recently, he shared with me how he invested in a fish farm business with his friend and made about Five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) off it after harvest. This was how it worked. He saw an opportunity to invest in a business that has a structure, he invested and recouped.
Like Branson advised, you may need to really consider where you have more strength. Do you know how to identify and take opportunities or you manager opportunities better?
NOW THAT YOUR STRENGTH LIES IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Giving up isn’t the next best move after all. It is okay if you have failed so far. As a matter of fact, if you are one of the 50% entrepreneur research shows would fail in the first five years of taking off, it is because you have taken important steps so far. Failure is the right direction towards success.
Since you have critically considered the fact that entrepreneurship is for you, the next critical thinking would be how you see your current failure; as a cue to quit or avenue to learn what didn’t work, re-deliberate your steps and rework your modalities. Although, study shows general attribute of successful entrepreneur, a deeper study would reveal attitudes of specific industry shakers. This means each industry encourage different approach and requires different framework. You will have to learn the general attributes and specific ones to succeed in your chosen industry.
WHAT DO YOU DO FROM HERE? The first thing I would recommend you do is re-consider the industry you now work. It is possible you ventured into what you do now because of public perception. If this is true, giving up would probably look like a business partner to you. An entrepreneur sees opportunity to grasp but also know when a move is bad considering his strength and knowledge. However, Instead of giving up completely, I would suggest you reconsider. There are several entrepreneurs today who are known for a particular offer they didn’t start their career with. Mike Adenuga didn’t start off in the Telecom industry. He actually started trading on Lace and Coca Cola after returning from the United States. Mo Abudu who is known to be a Media guru today started her career as a recruitment consultant.
Another thing you can do instead of giving up is to list the reasons your business has failed and re-engineer a new but creative approach. Creativity can’t be over emphasized. It’s by far the only means to differentiate a business. Your creativity would influence your business approach, product offering, and choice of market. It will help with your logistics and means of communication. It would also help you figure out ways to get funds, manage existing resources and compliment the failing infrastructural support from government. You may need to consider strict financial restructuring. How you manage your finances, how much do you get in and how do you disburse. It would also help you understand how to react to competition, technology and change in the market place.
Lastly, you need a mentor. I think one of my mistakes in my year of successive attempt at success is my short-sightedness toward the benefits enshrined in mentorship. The year I registered for a mentorship program online by Sam Adeyemi was a break-even year for me.
As much as you have learnt all you’ve got to learn, you need someone to guide you along. One of the interesting things about Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean is that he has a compass he pretend guides his every move. Even when he was drunk and lost, he would open the compass and from there seem to get his bearing. Your mentor would be your guide, he/she would influence your moves based on experience. You mentor knows what you want to achieve and knows how you can achieve it. However, endeavor to have mentors in specific area and not generalize. Specifically get a mentor who is proven in the industry you are trying to operate and learn from him/her.