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Friday, 25 April 2014

Starting a Business is NOT Sexy



The things nobody ever says about starting a business…

I just got home, tired from my regular days schedule of activities. With my different hats as a manager, entrepreneur, small group leader, team member, unit cordinator, friend and of course blogger, I sometimes feel like I'm biting more than I can chew for my age (sic)! But quite frankly, living through my typical day can be challenging, debilitating, time-consuming, frustrating and sometimes even depressing
. Gratefully, I live through it. Thank God!

I was just thinking about a business I started a while ago, and a thought struck me that I felt most young aspiring entrepreneurs never consider or even get to hear. There are a lot of things I know now and have learnt over time that kind of take the "sexiness" away from the idea of owning a business or being an entrepreneur.

I know a lot of young people dream about starting this one BIG business that will all of a sudden make them a millionaire of even billionaires, have them driving big flashy cars, looking poshly dressed and mingling with celebrities. Perhaps that's your idea of being a successful entrepreneur.

Well, sadly, that hasn't been my experienced yet (thought I'm hopeful), but learning from my business experience daily has made me realise a few things and hear those that perhaps I wasn't listening to:

1. Nobody ever said starting a business would be easy. Yea, I know motivational speakers rant a lot about "xyz easy steps to starting a business/becoming an entrepreneur" even when they themselves have never started any sucessful business for anyone to learn from. Truth is starting a business is not as easy as ABC (like we're made to believe). A lot of planning, preparation, study, research, marketing, raising money is required.

2. Nobody ever said being in business wasn't going to be all "sexy". This is were a lot of us young entrepreneurs get it wrong. We believe being in business is all about glitz and glamour. Fact is, being in business can sometime be so not sexy and uncool! It can get really tough and dirty! You will have to face challenges: from taking care of a dissatisfied customer, to reconciling accounts, to negotiating credit window extension with your supplier, handling workers issues, paying bills, salaries, etc. Its a whole lot of work!

3. It's going to take some time. As beginners in business do, most times, we focus on all our paper calculations, projections, charts, market research data and all that, we forget that the reality is sometimes very much different from what we calculate on paper. I'm not saying research and data aren't useful, I'm just saying it is not the research or data that will determine or make your business successful, it is your "management" that will make the business fail or succeed.

4. You might/could lose all of your investment. I remember when I was about starting out a particular venture, someone I spoke with who had been into a similar business for many years boldly confided in me that I may not make a dime (profit) in might first year of business. Someone else said I should not put in too much because there is always the possibility that I could lose all of my money. I guess I didn't 100 percent take the advcie I got from these guys. Same mistake a lot of young aspiring entrepreneurs do. We don't even bother to look for advice.

In the end, in spite of the challenges, the hard work and dedication required to succeed in business, there is always the possibility of success. Looking at the bright side of things, there are opportunities waiting to be exploited, problems that we carry the solution. Others have made it so why can't we right? Yea!  If we ask the right questions, do our research thoroughly, get the facts, take precautionary steps, have some insurance (safety nets), get some leverage, learn from the mistakes/experiences of others, etc.
Maybe that picture might actually turn out "sexy" in the end after all...

Written by Precious Nwanganga © 2014
Follow him on twitter @Pmoney_Talks
Email him on buzzfizzle@gmail.com

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