The entrepreneurial journey is a long and winding road to success. This blog will tell my story as I make my way down the less trodden path. I will share the joys, the pains, the lessons and the triumphs along the way.
The seed of entrepreneurship was sowed in my life in 1995 at the age of 9 in my then hometown of Chinhoyi. My mother, a very enterprising woman would have us sell freezits / penny cools from a cooler box. I would watch her travel to South Africa to buy wares for resale. She would bring the latest fashions in clothes, toys and shoes. This was in addition to her jersey knitting business and her full-time job as a teacher.
It is from her that I learnt that it was essential for one to work with their hands to earn an extra income. At the end of the month, I would earn a small income from my “part-time” job and what a joy it was to know that I had profited from my labours.
In today’s world where we see the emergence of billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Ashish J Thakker, Dangote, there is one underlying factor and that is hard work. To be an entrepreneur one has to have an inherent and resolve to work hard and in most cases burn the midnight oil to succeed.
To be an entrepreneur one has to realize that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. As one takes up the entrepreneurship journey, one has to be willing to work, work long hours, rain or shine and thanks to my Mother I learnt this early in life.
The journey of an entrepreneur is not an easy one. It is a journey that is often wrought with a myriad of ups and downs. It reminds me of my experience watching my sister learn how to ride a bike. The first bike she got was at about 3-4 years old; it had training wheels and it was relatively quite simple for her to ride it. At the age of 9, she heralded the introduction of the mountain bike. It was difficult to watch her struggle with that bike. It was quite a difficult task watching my other sister who is a year older teach her how to ride it. She fell repeatedly scuffed her knees and elbows but still, she continued. There were times when she would take the bike out by herself and “coach” herself and lo and behold the day came when she mastered how to ride. It was like watching Usain Bolt win a gold medal at the Olympics; the triumph on her face just said it all. A lot of hard work had been put into this and she felt like the queen of the world, until the next challenge of course. When I look at my sister’s journey it reminds me of the journey of building a business.
1) Building a business is not for everyone.
Not everyone is gifted with the finesse and the grit to become an entrepreneur. The move today is to encourage entrepreneurial thinking that even as one is employed they think and act like an owner.
In order to achieve a certain target focus and determination is essential. In building a business there has to be a focus on achieving the vision of the founders. If one looks at companies today eg Air BnB and KFC, focus & determination of the founders despite previous failures have taken the business from just an idea in their head to a multi-million dollar business.
3) Agility and Adaptability.
Marketing myopia is a state that as a business person one should be wary of. Don’t be a person who fails to see the changing tides and reinvent yourself. Adapt or die is the mantra that should be tattoed on every business person’s mind. Imagine if in this millennial age someone was still trying to design the best telephone handset ever the business would surely die.
4) Mental Toughness
Once you have established a relevant business idea or endeavour to pursue its essential to have a crocodile skin. Mentors and other support structures play a part yes but, in the end, this is your baby. In business there are challenges and on your way to your destination you may lose money, be criticised and face many such hurdles. A good example of such is Strive Masiyiiwa who had a protracted battle to receive a licence for Econet in Zimbabwe. It took a few years to have him finally open the doors of the now telecoms giant but, because of strong self-conviction of the vision he persevered.
5) Organisation and Planning
It is critical that as one pursues the vision or goal there is a roadmap to be followed i.e. the business plan. Once the business is up and running strategic, tactical and operational plans should be put in place. A friend of mine had a good laugh about how as a nation as Zimbabweans we are gifted in planning. The most beautiful plans are drafted but, gather dust in a credenza somewhere until the next strategy session in a cushy resort town.
6) Execute, Execute, Execute
Talk is cheap, execution is real. Most people claim to be entrepreneurs but, are not willing to put in the essential hard work and exercise discipline to achieve it. No to NATO – No Action Talk Only. Each and every day have a plan, have a target, do something to get where you claim you want to go.
As you run your race get a mentor and trustworthy peers who you are accountable too. These people will push you to persevere and give you fresh insights on what to do next. They will be your failsafe when you feel like giving up they will egg you on and not allow you to quit.
I am a Christian and I earnestly believe in the power of prayer. If you are Christian this is a critical element in giving you the strength and the impetus to persevere. Business is not for the faint-hearted or those who easily give up. In order to succeed Perseverance is key. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Success is only accessible to those who strive for it.
Author – Nyasha Maturure
Nyasha Maturure is a marketing consultant who is responsible for assisting clients in solving marketing solutions. Maturure also drafts marketing plans, marketing communication plans, and offers event management services.