You are an entrepreneur, hold it together!
Starting and growing a business can be challenging. It is exciting, but you will face a range of problems and difficulties you will need to overcome, in order to take your business to the next level.
Most entrepreneurs will plan and strategise before embarking on any ventures. Many will read widely, from business-specific books to personal development or motivation/inspirational books, and this is really important. However, once you put your hands to the plough, the reality of staffing, finances, sales and paperwork may change your exciting dream to a continuous hustle, far removed from the books and speakers who promise ‘five easy steps to business wealth’ or ’10 certain strategies to live life high’!
So how do entrepreneurs cope with the reality of growing their businesses?
One simple word: encouragement. Whether it is from yourself or someone else, encouragement matters, with one key result – it prevents you from giving up.
This article explores three simple strategies for holding it together as an entrepreneur, through the difficult times or even the daily routine.
Find and hold onto your truth
One of the most important principles that guides my life is that the truth is the only thing that matters. Not the facts, and not the lies. Most people would agree that a lie is the opposite of truth, but want about facts? The Oxford Dictionary defines a fact as: ‘a thing that is known or proven to the true’.
This is absolutely correct, but it is an incomplete definition. A fact is known or proven to be true after subjecting it to our senses: what we have seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelt. The ‘truth’ is somewhat deeper than that; it embraces a sixth dimension – a spiritual dimension.
A friend of mine, an ex agency owner, had struggled to pay staff salaries in the early days of his business. The fact (at the time) was he did not have money to pay his staff, but his ‘truth’ was that he knew he would get through this challenge, and grew a successful business. He believed this so strongly, that the facts did not deter him from continuing to build his business. This business was sold after nine years to the world’s largest independent b2b marketing agency, and is now listed as a Top 10 agency in the UK.
Great results, because the founder chose to hold onto his ‘truth’, rather than surrendering to the facts.
Remember your past victories
Luckily, you are faced with challenges every day. Small challenges, big challenges, serious challenges, fun challenges. See your challenges as a good thing. From choosing your company name, to writing your first business plan, or even landing your first customer. You will be filled firstly with some trepidation, and then with a sense of victory and satisfaction when you overcome a particular challenge. Remembering these past victories will encourage you anytime you are faced with a new challenge. Remember, you don’t reach heights without climbing. Or, as commonly said: there are no TESTimonies without tests. If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger!
Build a support network
With the advent of social media, most celebrities and successful business people could have thousands or even millions of followers, likes, fans, etc. But you do not need a thousand people around you. You don’t even need a hundred people – or even ten. One or two, perhaps three people, who care for you and believe in your dreams are enough to help you through some of your darkest hours as an entrepreneur. Don’t try to ‘do business’ on your own. Trust me, entrepreneurship is not a solo race. You need people who can support you with words of wisdom and truth.
Get encouraged – practical tips to get started
- Write your ‘truth’ down
List down all the reasons why you believe in yourself and your success. Did you research your business? Have your learnt from others? Do you know your market? Have you tested your product/service? Are you hardworking? Write these down, and remind yourself of your ‘truth’.
- Keep a gratitude journal
Get a notebook and record each victory with a tone of gratitude. Thank God for helping you make the right decision, for bringing you that new customer, or for giving you favour with a distributor. Decide to count your blessings, and you will find more victories to be thankful for. Anytime you are faced with discouragement, bring out your book and read your past victories.
- Call someone who believes in you
Have a list of the top three people you would call if you felt discouraged about a particular situation. When I started my business, I made sure I had a list of go-to people with whom I could share my fears, successes, questions and more. I kept them updated with my business growth, and their counsel and support kept me from giving up so many times.