For everything that has a bright side, there is a dark side. For every success that has been achieved, there was an atom of failure that plagued around. Entrepreneurship isn’t excluded.
An entrepreneur is someone who lives a few years of his life like most people wouldn’t, so that he will live the rest of his life like most people cannot. An entrepreneur sacrifices, suffers and denies himself a lot at the early stage in order to enable him enjoy the fruit of his labour. When others are sleeping, entrepreneurs are awake brainstorming, looking for the one thing they are passionate about which poses as a problem that seems to be out of the league of solutions.
As much as entrepreneurs are always celebrated, they face challenges, problems, hit brick walls and dark sides before they become people that matter. No one understands the pain and denial they go through until they voice them out.
The founders of Google; Larry Page and Sergey Brin for instance, faced a lot of financial challenges in their early days that they opted to sell the search engine to Yahoo before the year 2000. Today Google is the most preferred search engine in the world, with Yahoo trailing behind with a very unstable future. You can hardly hear someone say ‘Yahoo it or Bing’ it in response to a question they might have no answer to rather, all you will hear is ‘Google it’.
There are spikes on the road to entrepreneurship aspiring entrepreneurs may never know until they begin to feel the heat. These spikes, brick walls or dark sides most times exist at the beginning of the journey to entrepreneurship, in the course of the journey or at the age of maturity and these dark sides determines the level of existence of the businesses.
What are those dark sides?
THE DARK SIDES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
- Failure is inevitable
There is no successful entrepreneurial story without tales of failure before success. Thomas Edison tried a thousand times to stabilize the use of the already existing electric bulb by inventing an essential material called filament a thousand times in the course of 25 years because. Though late today, his work is celebrated worldwide and for generations to come. As an entrepreneur or an aspiring one, you should have it at the seat of your mind that you will fail mostly in the prime of your business.
What matters isn’t the fact that you will fail but, what follows after failure. Will you quit or continue to pursue your passion? Entrepreneurship isn’t for feeble minded persons, it is made for people who absorb shock, people who will still smile in the face of failure, see the mistakes they made and get back on their feet. Thomas Edison once said I didn’t fail one thousand times, I simply found 1000 ways that didn’t work and those 1000 ways were processes involved in the making of the filament. The ability to pick yourself up from the ground after falling, is the real test of entrepreneurhood, (if there is ever a word like that). Failure will show you the wrong things you have done and the right thing for an entrepreneur to do, is to pick himself up and continue.
- You will get frustrated
At the beginning of your business, there will be times when you will make use of every weapon in your arsenal just to achieve a result, but the results expected might never come. You might seek opinions from experts and professionals who know a thing or two about the business you want to venture into, you might attend seminars, workshops and conferences to fortify your knowledge yet, you might not achieve your results.
Then at this point, doubts begin to crawl into your mind and you will wish you never spent all that money and never made all those sacrifices. Your friends and family make jest of you, especially if you made them and yourself sacrifice a lot for the sake of your dreams. The beginning of the end of your entrepreneurial venture starts when you begin to doubt yourself. Once your mind tells you cannot do something, then you are on your way to loss and failure. And you shouldn’t expect to make it big at the beginning, some business ventures might not yield reasonable profits until 2 – 3 years, so before you think that returns and profit will make you smile, you should know that it takes time to begin to count the fruit of your labor.
- You must deny yourself a lot of things
An innovator or entrepreneur doesn’t understand the word “comfortable” at all. You will deny yourself that luxurious life, frivolous spending and those romantic weekend trips. For everywhere an entrepreneur goes, his brain will be on processing mode so much that, he will forget it is weekend and it is time for that wonderful outing or shopping. Even your sleep hours, will sacrifice them because, scientifically speaking, the brain processes better and faster at late nights than any other time of the day. Aliko Dangote; a renowned Nigerian entrepreneur recognized globally for his exploits, quoted in an interview that most times, when he goes to bed 12am, he wakes up before 4am to think of the solutions to existing issues.
So ask yourself, if the richest black man on earth will deny himself enough sleep to get solutions on how to solve problems, what more an aspiring or virgin entrepreneur like you and I? Think about it.
- Your competitors will intimidate you
No matter the line of business you might decide to get into, there are people already who are into a subdivision of that business or are in the business of buying over businesses like you intend venturing into. Your competitors might have their means of advertising in order to get customers, now when you see the sales statistics of your competitors, you might be forced to copy them or get your hands dirty if you don’t achieve quick results.
For instance, if your competitor makes use of radio adverts to make much sales and you are aware of this fact, you might be tempted to apply the same strategy, forgetting the fact that they have been in business before you, might have insiders who run some adverts for them or might have discount privileges because of their endless patronage. Intimidation could also come in the form of trying to buy over your infant business, this is one strategy competitors use if you are relentless and haven’t allowed the storms of entrepreneurship to pull you down.
- Much capital doesn’t mean much profits
The idea isn’t in the money, but the money is in the ideas. Starting a business with huge capital isn’t the ultimate decision to take because, you could make financial mistakes upon mistakes because you know the money is there. A lot of entrepreneurs go into business with huge capital and still witness a fold or close down of that business because they had poor ideas that weren’t bankable. Most successful entrepreneurs in history, started with little money but great ideas. You can raise as much capital as you want but if your ideas aren’t bankable, then that business will not hold water.
- Time will elude you
Waiting too long before launching or launching the business at the wrong time, can be catastrophic. For every minute you waste on anything unfruitful, you will never gain back. One minute in the life of others, would be like an eternity to him because, he is always thinking of solutions to existing problems. An entrepreneur is an accurate time keeper and a shrewd time manager, every second counts.
- No mentor, no success
A lot of entrepreneurs today go into business without trying to consult people who have the experience and who have seen the flip sides of the coin of entrepreneurship. If you decide to fly solo without consultancy, without assistance and guidance, you are bound to fail.
Mentors mustn’t be around you physically, you can read up books they have written, books written by others about them, interviews held by researchers etc., you can reach out to your mentor on social media or their personal blogs if they have any. One good thing with mentors is that they don’t hide their success and failure stories from people who have interests in them.
- You must invest your savings
Some businesses today make the mistake of saving, claiming it is for the rainy day, that’s a wrong ideology in business. Investments are other means of raising funds for an existing business especially, when the current business needs to expand and there is no other means of raising funds for the expansion project.
In a book titled ‘Multiple Streams of Income’ he said, successful entrepreneurs today do not have one stream of income because, they invested their savings in the beginning denying themselves a temporary luxury that might have had a gruesome permanent effect on the future of their business ventures.
In cases where we are hit with so much negativity, it is actually a sign that we must forge ahead and we exist for that purpose. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t get his first big break movie until he was 35 after losing hope in himself and living from poor movie roles, today he is celebrated worldwide, even after having being the governor of California, he has intentions to run for US President during the next elections.
Simon Cowell, the host of X-factor TV series at age 32, still lived with his parents and was very broke, but now he is worth over $400 million in cash.
Aliko Dangote who controls a lot of businesses in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and other African countries began his journey to entrepreneurship with less than $1000, today he is regarded as the richest black man alive with a worth of $15 billion to his name.
Michael Adenuga; the founder and CEO of Globacom Telecommunications Limited which has its presence in virtually every West African country and the UK as well started off as a taxi driver after graduating from school.
It might seem tough, frustrating and tiring in the beginning, but it does get better with time. Persistence is the key, always remember it is easy to quit and quitters never win.
What are your thoughts?