When I was younger I enjoyed visiting my father’s office. This had nothing to do with the delicious meals we were served, the attention we received from running around or the lessons learnt from the brilliant OAPs in the studio.
Although I admired my father’s work ethic, what really fascinated me at such a young age was my father’s well-designed office.
On the 10th floor in a beautiful building at Adeyomo Alakija Street then, the view was second to none. He seemed to have the most comfortable chair, which was placed behind a big brown glazed office table.
Whoever designed that office didn’t forget to arrange his collection of books and awards in a clear shelf for all to see and respect. Above all, my favorite things about that office were the television set and mini fridge. I could always reach out to get a mini snack while I increased the volume of the television set, which always seemed to be on the lowest till my sisters and I visited.
I remember his meetings with prominent people, and how each time he wanted us excused from the meetings the visitors asked us to sit quietly and learn.
So when people ask what motivated me to start my first business of selling beads at the age of 10, I simply answer “the beauty of my father’s office” I knew little about entrepreneurship back then; the only thing that motivated me was the thought of having a nice office someday.
It took age, two failed businesses, and lessons from my parents to discover that the people who visited my father in the office did so only on official purposes. The size of his chair was chosen so as to give him the comfort he needed as he sat down for many hours working daily. I also discovered that the television and radio set in his office weren’t there to beautify it or for relaxation purposes; as a journalist he had to keep up with the latest information in the world.
So I can’t help but think that the failure of my first 2 businesses were caused by the foundation I laid starting a business because I wanted a nice office.
We see great entrepreneurs today who look like money itself and are able to tell their success stories in a matter of minutes, and we decide that yes! I want to be just like this person. But some times these entrepreneurs forget to state in detail just how gruelling owning a business can really be.
They forget to advice us to think well before investing all funds into a business idea. They forget to tell us that behind the glitz and glam and photo-shoots on magazines are stories they probably never want to relive: years of persistence, hard work and prayers
Although I do not want to scare anyone, I believe it is important that you know these five things before starting a business.
It is Tough
Not the first thing you want to be told I’m sure, but there is no subtle way of saying this. Being an entrepreneur is tough, even more so now that consumers have all the control and dictate their needs to business. Before you start a business you need to measure your inner strength. Can you handle disappointments well? Can you handle the stress of keeping clients and even bigger stress of finding them? Hiring employees, getting attached to them and having to let them go because they only look good on paper and are not a great fit for your vision? Being compared to competitors constantly?
Before you start that business you should make sure you are strong enough to handle both external and internal pressures as they come, because they will
It is a Huge Risk
I do not think I know any entrepreneur who laid the foundation of his business with 100% confidence in its success. Even those who probably did still had doubts about certain areas of the business. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee your business idea will be successful, in short, anyone scared of failure might want to reconsider self-employment. This is why I always encourage people to have a plan B. As an entrepreneur you may have to take huge financial decisions and even go months being unable to pay yourself. As the owner of a business any strategic decision you take becomes a risk. There will be ups and downs; you should therefore ensure you start with a plan and a business mentor.
You Do Not get ‘Thank You’ From Anyone
You are your own boss, so no one holds your hands through decision making or praises you when you do something right. Entrepreneurship can be very lonely. You will have to be your own motivation. You need to learn to celebrate yourself when huge successes are made. A great way to thank yourself is to assess revenues, a growth in revenues means you are doing something right.
You Work Longer and harder
As an entrepreneur your business will most likely be on your mind every time: on public holidays, vacations, driving to work and even after business hours. For your business to succeed you have to be 100 percent committed. This is probably why successful people advice that you turn your passion into a business as they know the importance of committing to a business.
Overnight Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
It is very difficult to find a successful business which became a household name over night. This is why you need a good team around you, people that see your vision and are willing to achieve it with you. The problem with our generation is we want to get to the Promised Land without going through the wilderness. Show me a successful company today and I will have a story to tell. Coca-Cola sold only 25 bottles in its first year, J.K. Rowling was living off welfare when she began writing the first “Harry Potter” novel, Walt Disney was told he lacked creativity.
The list is honestly endless.
Consistency and perseverance are major keys in being successful entrepreneurs. Most importantly is knowing what to expect and tackling problems rightly as they come.