As the year comes to a close, you may be asking yourself whether 2018 is the year to take the leap into business. To give life to that idea that has been keeping you up at night. I spoke at an event where over over seventy percent of those in attendance wanted to start a business. We cannot ignore this desire amongst us to be entrepreneurs. What does it take? Well, if entrepreneurship was a game, these would be some of the rules.
1. Be willing to fail.
For many people like myself, the business that finally worked was not the one they started with. Accept failure as an integral part and instructor of the game. Formal education does not teach us how to fail so life will have to. Society tells us that failure is to be hidden. For example, the people who got top marks in KCPE have been highlighted all over the place. We never talk about those who got average or even low marks. It doesn’t mean they didn’t put in effort. When you fail, take the lesson and move on. The rest doesn’t mean anything. For example, the business may fail in some way at first. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, you are not good enough, you were not meant for this etc. There is no success story without many failures behind it.
2. Be willing to look like a fool.
Not everybody will understand what you are doing. Things are not correct only when those around you approve of it. You are not out to get votes. People will think you are crazy to leave a good job and start a business. Five years later will they also help you regret it? You’ve got to remember that you have been given a vision and passion for something in particular, that nobody else has. Therefore, not everybody will be part of it and that’s OK.
3. Be willing to make less money now for the possibility of making more later.
Delayed gratification and learning to be ‘broke’ are key parts of this game. Entrepreneurship will teach you that death will not occur simply because you cannot afford some of the things you are accustomed to. I have looked at the two hundred shillings left in my bank account and been forced to realise that I am still a human being with mental capacity. A human being that can still get up and do something. It will be uncomfortable but it is important to learn that a monetary situation does not define you.
4. You can’t ever be a victim.
You have to take one hundred percent responsibility. You can’t afford to blame a boss, the government, economy, colleagues etc. This is not to say that external situations will not impact you. Our protracted elections have adversely affected many businesses. However, your default reaction as an entrepreneur to anything that may come your way is – ‘What am I going to do about it?’. The power always lies in your attitude towards a challenge, not the fact that there is a challenge.
5. Realise that you have something unique to offer.
A couple of years ago, a potential client challenged me and I blurted out, before I could stop myself, that I am the best. I internally kicked myself for saying this but retrospectively, I saw the importance of this statement. You are out to figure out what is unique about you and to sell that. Your job is actually to be the best at being you. Consequently, your business should be ‘the best’ at something. This is not taking away anybody’s right to be the best at themselves. People want to work with and buy products from those who are the best. Think about what motivates some of your own purchasing decisions.
I believe entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business. It’s an approach to life that you can use anywhere. In fact, organizations are thirsting for people with entrepreneurial attitudes. Other parts of this article will follow but for now, I’d like to leave you with an anonymous quote. “Entrepreneurs live a few years of their lives like most people won’t so that they can spend the latter parts of their lives like most people can’t.”
Waceke runs a program on Entrepreneurship. To sign up, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or watch her online tutorials on Youtube|Centonomy