The business world can be cold and disheartening. Making money as an entrepreneur is no easy task and sometimes it feels like it’d be better or easier to give up. Only you know if that’s the case in your situation, but I would caution against any quick conclusion of defeat. People have come back from worse, and we can learn from their stories, triumphs, failures, and more.
Take (Calculated) Risks
Richard Branson has talked about the necessity of taking risks more than once. My favourite quote by him is ‘Continue to take chances. In the future how “lucky” you are in business will be determined by how willing you are to take calculated risks.’ I am naturally of a much more cautious mindset, but his words have made me second guess myself. Failure is ultimately inevitable, but success is often earned after many failures.
I think there’s something to be said for the word ‘calculated’ in his quote as well. A risk may result in a loss, but it shouldn’t break you. Predicting business trends and navigating your decisions around them is a necessity. Meaning, you should have faith that you can be successful from the risk you take, and you should also be able to bounce back if that doesn’t happen. For instance, despite my cautious nature, I like to play slot machines. Slot machines are always a risk and I’ve made a lot of money from them at times, but also lost a lot at others. But I’ve never bet enough to live on. No loss has ever been unmanageable.
Calculated risks can take you new levels if they go well, but they shouldn’t put you out of the game if they don’t.
100 Quid Ain’t Nothin’ To Worry About
While Donald Trump talks of ‘small’ loans of $1,000,000, Lord Alan Sugar had £100 as his startup capital. Granted, it was 1968, so a hundred quid meant a lot more. Regardless, his story is such: he bought a van for £50, insured it for £8, and sold electric and car goods out of his van. Now his estimated fortune is £900,000,000.
I’m not saying you should be as rich as Lord Sugar. However, the idea that you need a giant amount of money to start a successful business is poppycock. What you need to understand is the nature of sales more than anything. Like gambling, it’s possible to make a lot out of practically nothing.
So don’t get discouraged if your capital isn’t much. Adjust your business plan to make the most of it.
The Alec Dobbie Principle
In my research for this article, I found an article by a man named Alec Dobbie, the CEO and Founder of FanFinders. It was about starting a business from scratch while having a family, but the last line of the article is what stuck out to me. ‘Be smart, nice and get sh*t done.’
Magic hands don’t come along and sweep businesses owners up to the level of stardom or that of multi-millionaires. People don’t magically just find you and buy your products and services. You have to do the groundwork to get your name in the right places and keep improving. Also, the way you act and conduct yourself is always important. It’s 2017, you can’t get away with being a sleazeball as easily as you could before social media. Time and time again public figures have been slammed across social media for instances of bad behaviour - it’s too risky in this age to be a jerk. So don’t do it. To reword Alec’s original slogan: be clever, be kind, don’t waste time and work hard.
Managing Time Wisely Is Possible and Necessary
My favorite story I discovered while researching for this article is that of The Lifestyle Hunter owner Gayle Hunter. She started her company after becoming a mother and decidedly did it in order to spend time with her kids more. She has said “Being able to spend more time with my family whilst growing a successful retail business has not happened by accident. It is something that I absolutely determined would be a measure of my success.” Gayle has done this and gone on to become extremely successful.
Speaking of her husband - also an entrepreneur who runs a different business - she said ‘we both “switch off” where possible at the weekends and evenings.’ Time management for them is good enough for both of their businesses to succeed and stay constantly profitable. That’s not to say their kids never get both parents together, either. Turns out, as of this last March, she had spent five of the last twenty four months out of the country with her husband. Managing your time around any responsibility you have is necessary - make your priorities, make sure they make sense, and navigate accordingly.
Learning from other people’s experiences is crucial to living healthy and productive lives. What have you learned from others’ successes that have helped out your company or business? Let me know via Twitter @robolitious.