In a past article, ‘Business in learned on the ground, not in classrooms’, I mentioned that when you read success stories, you notice that everyone creates their own success through “engagement” with the activities that eventually attract many willing customers. I am reminded by author Brian Tracy, that repetition persuades.
I wish to remind those reading tons of entrepreneurship books to look for operating manuals instead, especially if you have the courage to combine this with some classroom study. Entrepreneurship is strictly a Do-It-Yourself item where you write your operating manual as you go.
If you have hit 40 years plus and have been employed all these years, this can scare you because you are used to following someone else’s operating manual which has been tested over many years and works. While doing this, you have also been accumulating financial obligations that come with age. Your mind can’t fathom how you will keep meeting your financial obligations without regular income.
My dear readers, I was once a high-flying commercial banker in this city. It has been over 17 years since I last wore that banker label. Today I can’t remember a thing about what made my young life exciting in banking, and it was. But I can remember everything I have achieved through steep effort over the last two to four years because it is an experience that continues to write my future.
Every difficulty in entrepreneurship is a useful class with lasting lessons you can apply in a completely different business, this is because business management skills are highly transferable across sectors and industries.
You must accept to stop being a caterpillar stuck on a tree if you want to discover the fun of flying like a butterfly freely moving between trees but must deal with the wind. If the butterfly maintained the mindset of a caterpillar, it would remain on the tree even after molting. But there is the freedom to try new things that comes with molting, which motivates the pupa to leave the tree or leaf whereupon it must learn how to deal with wind blowing it away in all directions when it becomes a butterfly. It is not easy.
When you make a choice to invest in entrepreneurship, you must think like entrepreneurs and act like them. Your friends change too. They become key partners, individuals who provide you intellectual and financial resources, connection and influence. Without having to ask your old friends to pack and go, your engagement with your entrepreneurial activities will take you away from pure social time to socialising while discussing issues of common importance with those you meet along the way. You go for business lunches, not just lunch dates. Your customer segment becomes your biggest asset, and you seek to understand and respond with improvement in products and delivery approaches.
I have said before that all great products and services first start out as an idea amongst two friends talking, or even an idea that comes to you in the most unexpected place and time. Ideas are spontaneous in nature, are seldom forced and can arrive in the least expected situations. Make a business out of the shortcomings you experience while looking for services. In entrepreneurship, big problems create large markets, and when well harnessed, they bring big money.
Once again, there are no schools for teaching hard work, drive and determination. There are no operating manuals or even books to teach them. These admirable traits are already in you waiting for the stresses of the environment to bring them out.
Patrick Wameyo is a financial literacy coach at Financial Academy and Technologies, and an entrepreneurship coach at The Entrepreneurship Center EA. Email: [email protected].