[Column] Bob Koigi: Going solo: what makes entrepreneurs tick
Every business person world over especially in a partnership has at one time toyed with the idea of one day going solo. That moment when you are all by yourself trying to figure out why you are still at that dead end job. What keeps you there? Surprisingly your answers are as lame as they get.
So, why haven’t you moved for greener pastures? You claim the mortgage, kids in school, hey! There is financial security in employment, you say.
Clearly going solo is not for the faint hearted. It requires guts and a dedication like no other. No doubt you will be sent on rethink mode when the sentiments in everyone’s lips are; difficult economic times, making you put your plans on hold. But it is critics like these who kill the ambitions of many.
And so if the drive to succeed is within you together with a solid business idea, plan and strategy in place you will clearly sail through and weather the tough storms.
What’s your reason for going into business? What most people don’t know is that the idea of a business will never succeed if the sole idea of starting the business is to make money. There has to be a passion driving you. A desire to create something new…something that was not there before. This will definitely see you not only make money but make more money. Your customers will clearly read between the lines that you are out to make a killing from them rather than help them, leaving you for others who will not have the money factor motivating them to do business.
Yet again most entrepreneurs should realise when they are driving off the road: stop driving and take in a deep breath. Analyse your situation and then look for a way out. This means taking stock of what your plan and evaluating it ever so often.
We nevertheless have to cultivate certain traits known to belong to the greatest entrepreneurs. Fearless creativity being one of them; maverick thinking and risk taking nature. This will bring in a lot of debate because having fearless creativity will make others think that we have gone
Consider the man in Kenya’s Nandi Hills with his idea of creating a helicopter. Did it not bring in a lot of debate in the village? It is said there is a thin line between genius and insanity. This is especially true as when one takes a risk, they render themselves vulnerable. Who in their right mind would put themselves in a position of vulnerability rather than a place of comfort?
This being the active kind of vulnerability - making yourself vulnerable out of free will and choice- the decision to go into business is informed and very deliberate with a purpose of effecting change and of course greater financial rewards.
So in essence, what am I saying? Essentially there are things that make an entrepreneur great:
Don’t do it unless you love it: You will only succeed at something you love to do. This is especially true as it is less possible for you to get bored of the venture. It also means that because you love what you do, you will go out of your way to make sure that is a success.
Your primary goal should not be to make money rather it should be to have fun doing what you love.
Persistence is a good thing because you need to be relentless and making the difference between wild success and abysmal failure is persistence. This will translate into seriousness and consistency in the eye of your business partners who will have faith in you and your products. It is also translates into clearing any doubts in your mind on your ability to succeed in business.
Dream big dreams: In your dream imagine what your business would be like if everything fell into place. From there, try everything you possibly can to make it a reality. Don’t be afraid of making decisions that will charter a path to your success.
If you develop systems then it is easier to deliver to your customers’ consistency. And what better image to portray? If you are linked to consistency, customers link you with dependability and trust.
They say luck has everything to do with the success of any venture. But how true is that? Donald Trump one of the biggest entrepreneurs of the 21st century equates luck with hard work. The harder you work, the bigger your luck gets and the greater your success. This can be disputed when they say, work smart and not hard. No need to spend sleepless nights reinventing the wheel when what you should be doing is to improve on it don’t you think?
Lastly, never give up: if going into business is what you have decided, don’t give up! Remember if you already love what you are doing to the point of taking it into a money making hobby then you will be less likely to quit when times get tough. Chances are that you will look for ways to stay afloat and innovate to satisfy your clients.
Merry Christmas to our esteemed readers.
Multiple award winning Kenyan journalist Bob Koigi is Chief Editor East Africa at Africa Business Communities