February 8th, 2016


african entrepreneur

One of the primary aims of every entrepreneur is to find the right challenge for his/her expertise while also creating amassing profit to sustain the enterprise. Let’s get straight, your plans are to get an idea, get a nice team, build your plans with them, get the necessary funding, and voila, everything goes well. That sounds like fairy tale to me honestly.

The reality is rather different I have to say. Entrepreneurship is like a journey. While the destination of every entrepreneur may differ depending on what the goals are or how you hope to achieve them, chances are you are going to be facing lots of challenges or disappointments along the way which may range from insufficient funding, competition, low traction, poor recruit, betrayal  from co-founder  or employees. While we can’t possibly prevent all these from happening, we can still learn from them by the way.

Focus on the positives:

You’ve probably heard the popular saying, ‘every relationship has its high and low points’.  This saying actually applies to work places too. Let me guess, you have these worker or that co-founder that you have worked your life building your companies around and suddenly they leave saying it’s time to start their own ventures or seek fresh challenge somewhere else. This kind of thing happens and one can only prepare for its occurrence rather than trying to prevent or change the inevitable. The most interesting part of it is that you can draw positives from the experiences. What you consider a low point may actually turn out to be a high point. As the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson points out, it is good to have good relationship even with former employees, you might just turn out to be business partners and develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the future.

Related content: Attitudes that enhance business failure

Develop good bond with your employees:

Many business owners hold the notion that since they struggled to set up a business venture, then employees should ultimately be subservient to them. No one will argue the fact you deserve to be the boss but it won’t do any good if you are always trying to prove that to everyone. Research shows that a cordial relationship between the employers and employees often leads to the growth of the business. As Chris Myers highlights, employer-employee is not just about offering money to employees. Giving necessary importance to the personal lives of an employee go a long way in enhancing the growth of the business. Small business organizations that cannot afford long vacations can augment by giving special interests and well-being of the workers.

Cherish the moment, not just the final result:

The ultimate aim of any business enterprise or entrepreneur is to make profits or generate substantial return on investments. But one of the most of interesting or downsides (depending on individual perception) of entrepreneurship is facing challenges which sometimes may be psychological when results don’t meet expectations or during a financial crisis. After all the goal of being an entrepreneur is to solve problems in the first place while creating profit along the way. The fact is you can’t let it just go away but you can learn to cherish the moment by counting the lessons learnt from each experience, not just the success but especially the failures.

Related content: Why you should not hold onto failure

Treat your rivals with respect, not as enemies:

If the sky is enough for the birds to fly without colliding against each other, then there is no reason you cannot coexist with other similar business ventures even if they are your direct competitors. As frustrating as it can get sometimes to get criticism business contemporaries, you will not gain anything by retaliating to an enemy’s intentional provocation. As the saying goes ‘’Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’, you need all the business partnership you can get, not just for the sole aim of gaining something from them but to show more maturity. You can learn from a competitor’s mistake and possibly avoid them.

Related content: How Lucious Lyon of Empire could positively influence your business ethics

Take time out of work, stay with family, visit relaxation centre:

Are you one of the 24/7 types that actually believe working full circle is good for the business? My advice is, you need to take time out. You don’t want to overwork yourself trying to achieve something but end up not eventually reaching the goal. Research has shown exercising regularly not only improves productivity at work but leads to long life and sound mental health among others. So take time out and visit the gym or better still take a long walk from Ikeja to Victoria Island. Taking time with family also helps maybe vacation to Paris or just the weekend out with spouse and children. Vacation is not meant for employees alone, you need to too. Learn to appreciate family, because if you don’t leave business, one day the business will leave you.

Related content: How exercise improves work productivity

While the list is not exhaustive, the above listed can go a long way in creating personal fulfilment for an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is not about making money and driving fast cars, you need to learn to be happy doing what you love.

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Taoheed is an ardent researcher and an advocate of self-sustainability, who is especially passionate about the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa. Follow @td-rafiu

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