In my first year as an entrepreneur, I learnt some valuable lessons from some very important people. I will share with you words from just two of them and do a conclusion on a later date.
These lessons came after I put my idea and business thought on paper, and was ready to share it with those I feel may find it interesting enough to want to invest in it. After presenting it to about 3 people that I know have the funds and would find it a good idea to invest in, I didn’t get the funds that I needed. Though they liked the idea and all the beautiful prospects, they didn’t commit any fund.
The thought alone makes my eye balls want to pop out of the socket in ‘wonder-ment’. If you avoid the mistakes highlighted in these lessons, you will succeed as an entrepreneur.
LESSON 1: Your Idea is Long Term
Except you just want to build a business and make money without adding value and possibly not thinking of posterity, you are likely to just plan for today without any plans for tomorrow.
One advice to an entrepreneur: never rush an idea. Give it time to grow. Just like someone said, ‘Dream Big, Start Small, Grow Fast’. That’s all you need to do. Start from where you are with what you have.
At least, take the first risk. If you lose, it is your money. Nobody is hurt besides you. You’re not in any form of debt, whether in cash or in kind. If it’s profitable and you have your books to show for it, you would not need to chase investors.
You should know that the investors would not want to invest in a flop. The reason they are called investors is because they take calculated risk for the sake of profits, whether in kind in the case of grants or in cash in the case of Venture Capital.
I have always been an advocate of starting a business without cash. I think it is one way to bootstrap your business. Don’t start your business on borrowed money or loan. That should probably be the first law of entrepreneurship if we were to write a form of 10 commandments for start-ups.
Any business you cannot start without cash is something you’ve got to think about critically before venturing into it.
LESSON 2: Paralysis by Analysis
In simple terms, paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.
You don’t need all the answers to your questions before taking action. You will always find answers on the way.
It’s like a couple; you don’t get to know all the character of the couple before deciding on marriage. Once you have your basic information, the rest you discover in the institution. That’s how you should treat your start-up.
Once you have the basic, start.
Don’t sit and wait for a perfect condition. Don’t wait for the economy of your country to get better before you start. In fact, the best time to start is when the condition is not perfect because you’ve very few people who would want to take such risk.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn to walk by doing, and falling over” – Richard Branson
Entrepreneurs are creative people. They always find a way to solve problems.
Be the one that always find a way and not an excuse.
Things will never be right. The power situation may never be sorted. The roads may still be as bad as ever. But your decision to start and forge ahead will give you the advantage.
Like someone I know would always say, ‘Be phenomenal or Be forgotten’.
I will leave you with this quote from Virgin Boss, Richard Branson, ‘entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward with it’
In closing, here is an inspirational and motivating video: the story of Bruno, a banker turned hairstylist:
Watch out for the next set of lessons.