by Jonathan Jacobs on 10/09/13 at 7:00 am
I truly believe you should count yourself lucky if you find yourself in those larger than life shoes of the entrepreneur, but the entrepreneurial journey is not designed for just anyone.
The journey in most cases started with a dissatisfaction of not getting your way in the corporate you worked for. Maybe an anal boss pushed you away (let me not become this). Maybe retrenchment. Maybe retirement. Maybe you just wanted to solve a problem.
So, more than likely, the journey started on a rough patch. Sacrifices were made, then more sacrifices were made and then, more.
Yet all the while the light at the end of the tunnel seemed microscopic.
You were tenacious and you pursued your entrepreneurial cause. In the back of your mind you were wondering: “When am I getting my break? Any break will do!”
The break did not come when you expected it, but eventually it came. Things moved on smoothly for a while and life was good. Good clients. Good cash-flow. Good business. Life was blissful!
Then things began to slide. Customers did not pay, complaints from staff about other staff, you dug into your mortgage bond for moral support.
And things could not have been worse, but you knew your capabilities and slogged to get out of the trough you were in. Then suddenly: Tadaaa! This is what you signed up for. You realised: this is the entrepreneurial journey. Continuous ups and downs, peaks and troughs. Believe me, you’re not alone. Most entrepreneurs will immediately identify with this. You put one step forward but get knocked three steps back.
Entrepreneurship is not smooth sailing all the time. You will have downturns, I guarantee you this. But in the same breath, I guarantee you will swing up again if you stick at it.
Prepare mentally for these wild ups and downs. Most entrepreneurs go into a state of despair when things go down and life as it were crumbles. Often the effects of a downturn are catastrophic on a business. As an entrepreneur you are not immune to these fluctuations, even the most successful entrepreneurs have experienced the ebb and flow of business.
The reality check is that your business will experience difficulties. In winter you know that you will most likely catch a cold, so you can either wait for the cold or prop yourself up with vitamin C. When the bug strikes your body already has the defensive strategy in place, so recovery time is much quicker.
So, in order to weather the inevitable business winter, here’s one takeout from this article that I implore you to retain: develop a financial buffer of 6 months of your overhead cost. This may take some time to do. Attempt to reduce you expenditure by 20% every month, so when the downturn strikes you can quickly adapt to lean mode. Test concepts or new business ideas with contract staff first before you offer permanent employment. Ask your banker for a loan or overdraft facility when times are good. You will need it.
Doctor’s orders! Start now with your Vitamin C pills to prevent that nasty cold. Your business health will show for it.
Jonathan best describes himself as a social entrepreneur who helps people help themselves. His life mission is to create job opportunities for 100,000 people. Armed with street skills and a few degrees, Jonathan has assisted numerous entrepreneurs. He has recently been nominated as Honorary Consulate to Sri Lanka. He is currently Chairman of International Trade and tourism for the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Founding Board Member of South African Small, Medium Enterprise Federation, Provincial Manager for the Tourism Enterprise Partnership and “The TEA Lady” at Skylar Investment Holdings. He is involved in a myriad of business which include Green Energy, Brands, Technology, Events, Media, Consulting and his personal favourite his foundation. Jonathan lives by the mantra, “IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME”, he believes that if one wants to make a change for the better he can. View more articles by Jonathan Jacobs.