Just like everything else in life, the road to entrepreneurial success is often filled with huddles and unanticipated setbacks. These setbacks are bound to happen, irrespective of how much you plan or how hard you work. Young entrepreneurs are often frustrated and easily throw in the towel when they are faced with a situation that proves difficult to handle. It is important that you understand this from the start and decide that come what may, you will be ready to deal with whatever comes your way in your journey to success. Challenges are meant to test your will and determination and if properly handled can take your business to the next level. In many ways, setbacks and challenges help you to situate your business in reality. Even with well-conducted market research, the reception you receive for your product may not meet your expectation. Sometimes, the sudden change in government policy may be unfavourable to your business.
In the last six months in Nigeria, a lot of businesses have closed due to the inability of the business owners to source for foreign exchange. While some business were able to quickly adjust and look for alternative ways to keep their businesses thriving despite the challenges, some others had to shut down.
How do you deal with setbacks? How come some businesses succeed despite challenges while some fail? What can you do better to ensure that you do not fall on the way side? Let us consider what successful entrepreneurs do that others need to learn and apply in their businesses. They are called the seven habits of highly successful entrepreneurs.
Be tenacious. Tenacity often differentiates successful entrepreneurs from the ones who fall by the way side. Strong and successful entrepreneurs understand that being successful is not like a walk in the park. Tenacity can be likened to the foundation of a building. A building is only as strong as the foundation. The taller the building, the deeper the foundation. Imagine building a skyscraper on the sand. It will quickly fall when strong winds blow against it. Tenacity is the decision not to fail. It is the ability to stay the course and be firm, despite the odds, challenges or setbacks. According to the famous pilot, Amelia Earhart, “the most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” Importantly, you will need to decide ahead of time and make it a part of your DNA that your business will succeed despite the odds and ensure that you make this a daily living reality.
• Tenacity often differentiates successful entrepreneurs from the ones who fall by the way side. Strong and successful entrepreneurs understand that being successful is not like a walk in the park.
• Successful business owners understand the need to modify plans to suit market needs and expectations.
• A major reason why businesses fail is when the entrepreneur believes that he can do everything. Be willing to pay a fee to get the help you need.
• Your business is just as good as the team you set up. If people you hired are not delivering the results you expected, be willing to change them
• Being emotional about firing someone is bad for business.
• There is always more than one way to deal with a problem.
• Resources abound in every field of human endeavour and you will do yourself a world of good if you take time and study them.
• People who succeed in business major in one thing, become good at it before going into something else.
• Understand the capacity of your business and develop stages and milestones before changing focus or extending your business interests.
Be willing to change your business plan. Don’t be a slave to your business plan. When you start your business, what you find might not be what you expected. The economic realities may change which will require you to alter your plans in line with reality. Successful business owners understand the need to modify plans to suit market needs and expectations. Sometimes, the time difference between when you conceive of your ideas, conduct your market research and when you actually start your business can fundamentally change the dynamics of the business operating environment. When this happens, be willing to modify your plans in line with realities. Don’t get stuck. Don’t quit. It is not the time to wine and complain but rather, make that bold and quick decision to adjust. You may have started a restaurant with the plan to provide only rice meals to your customers. But it may happen that the price of rice in the market has increased or that rice is not readily available due to shortage of supply. Then you should be willing to include other meals in your menu and give your customers more options.
Be willing to ask for help. Sometimes, all you need to do is get help in order to deal with a setback in your business. It is important that you get the right professionals in specific areas where you do not have the required skills. You should never be ashamed to admit that you need help in resolving business challenges. A major reason why businesses fail is when the entrepreneur believes that he can do everything. You are not expected to be a jack of all trade because you will not make success of everything. Sometimes, all you need is a financial advice or an IT application or a software to overcome the challenge. Don’t die in silence. Be willing to pay a fee to get the help you need.
Be willing to change your team. Your business is just as good as the team you set up. If there are people in your team who are drawing you back or driving away your customers, then you will be required to change them for your business to succeed. Sometimes, the only problem you have is changing your accountant or IT person. If people you hired are not delivering the results you expected, be willing to change them. In making these decisions, you must ensure that your business interest comes first. Being emotional about firing someone is bad for business. You should never intentionally allow anyone to sabotage your business no matter who they are.
Be willing to think outside-the-box. You should always remember that you will not solve problems using the same methods that created them in the first place. The ability to consider other options is vital in dealing with business setbacks. Sometimes, you will need to extricate yourself from the situation in order to deal with it. Other times, you may have to get an outside opinion in order to resolve the situation. There is always more than one way to deal with a problem and if you have tried a solution for a while and the situation persists, it is time to try something else.
Be willing to study the experience of others. Experience is not often the best teacher. As someone who wants to succeed in business, you must invest time in studying the history of people who have done a similar thing in the past. What this means is that you can learn from their mistakes and how they overcame challenges. Don’t repeat history. Learn from it. Resources abound in every field of human endeavour and you will do yourself a world of good if you take time and study them.
Be willing to keep your focus. A broken focus or lack of focus is a major reason why businesses die. Some people want to do too many things at the same time. You will not be successful if you spread yourself thin. You must be firmly rooted in the ground in a particular business before venturing into another. Spreading yourself thin or doing too many things at the same time will put a huge strain in your resources and ultimately will lead to business stagnation or failure. People who succeed in business major in one thing, become good at it before going into something else. So it is important that you understand the capacity of your business and develop stages and milestones before changing focus or extending your business interests.
By Martins Itua