In most cases, what you start out to do will not be exactly what you’re doing when you are ultimately successful. As you roll out your business or enterprise, you’ll discover that things you expected to work well don’t work at all. You’ll stumble into things that you didn’t expect to work that will. You’ll see others in your industry doing things that will work well for your organization and you’ll copy them. You’ll have to be able to adapt.
Last week i had a conversation with a Harare based young couple who run a fledgling company, they went into business as a design and print company. When the market itself was fascinated by the way they designed their premise interior and exterior, and so they have also included elements of interior design. Its not an opportunity they had seen initially but the market needed the product. The great part is that the tasks require the similar and nearly the same skill sets.
We’ve been forced to morph our own businesses multiple times. When we started our business in 2007 we focused on graduate training Programs and Personal Development training. There was not much traction in that field. Most of the people meant to be the program beneficiaries couldn’t afford the services at the time. After several a few months, we shifted to a focus on Entrepreneurship Development and workforce development.
When we started LeVision Entrepreneurship Programs, we had a much broader focus. We tried to do everything. However, over time we have narrowed our offerings, specializing in helping small businesses grow to medium sized businesses as well as business coaching for the entrepreneur.
Being adaptable is critical. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, the only thing that will be constant is change. You will have to adapt or see your enterprise swallowed up by a rising tide of change.
Inevitably, you will encounter bumps in the road. You’ll lose big customers. Good employees will leave your company, and some may become dangerous competitors. The government will change policies, usually making things more complex. To succeed, you will have to be willing to persist through difficult times. Nothing can take the place of persistence and you can’t succeed without it. Persistence is what master entrepreneurs eat for breakfast.
In addition to the willingness to persist, you will need the financial wherewithal to persist. You’ll need to keep cash reserves all the time, these will see you through the lean times, that do inevitably do come. When considering the launch of a business assume that everything will take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expect. If you can’t afford this, delay the launch of your enterprise. Thorough preparation well in advance will give you enough fuel to run the marathon even when the going gets tough..
The third necessary skill is the ability and the willingness to work very, very hard. Sometime ago i came across an article containing a speech by Michael Bloomberg former mayor of New York and multi Billionaire he said that “When I worked at Salomon Brothers, I was always the first person in the office in the morning. The second was Barney Salomon, the managing partner. So if he wanted to know the football scores or if he needed a match for his cigar, then he’d come over and talk to me. All it was, was coming in early. Take working hard to the next level. Get in early, leave late, and go further than your competitors.
Running a small business is difficult. Your days will be much longer than the usual eight hours. If your week starts on Monday, you’ll pass 40 hours on Thursday, but you won’t slow down.
Running a small business is filled with challenges, but if you are adaptable, have the willingness and the wherewithal to persist, and are willing to work very hard, you will greatly improve your odds of success. Adaptability, persistence and hard work, these are the keys to success in small business, but they are three important attributes no matter what your endeavour.