10 Ways To Survive The First 5 Years Of Entrepreneurship


PS: This is not a piece on ‘ why entrepreneurship’. It is about ‘ how‘. If you are considering Entrepreneurship, please find your why first. Without your ‘ why ‘ , you do not need to know ‘ how ‘ of Entrepreneurship

They say 80 % of new businesses in the USA would fail before their 5th year anniversary. For , Nigeria I never bothered to know before I venture into entrepreneurship 5 years ago. I guess it could have been worse if we had got the statistics right . I took to start my own business for two reasons ;

1. I had always seen statistics as bent truth of reality, subjective to the nature of man, which of course, is very subjective.

2. That business does not fail . Man fails.

I choose to be successful even though I had no background in enterprise. And it has been an adventure . I am writing this in commemoration of my 5th year as an entrepreneur . And this ten tips are what I have picked up from my daily struggle as an entrepreneur . Yes , they could be personal but they might resonate with you too.

Entrepreneurship is bliss mixed with woes . It has the magical power to take man to the peak of success and the ability to throw him to the depth of shame and ignominy. And yet , It is impartial .It is what you make of it .

It is tough and sweet.

1.Pursue A Grand Goal.

This will stem from your ‘ why ‘ . The idea is to make your outcome infinite such that you keep on doing , never stopping . Entrepreneurship is more of a marathon . True Entrepreneurs want to create something that can outlive and outlast them . If you will have this mindset , short term failures and setbacks will not derail you and success will not intoxicate you . Success should never be the end goal , though desirable. Use it as a stepping stone to lay down more goals . Soon , you will come to term with mastery , which is a phenomenon no one can attain fully .

2. Learn How To Save.

No one can invest if he knows not how to save . Saving is the basic of accountability . It is a habit that permeates all aspects of human life. No one trust a man without savings. It is the seed of greatness ; the spark of creativity . What you begin with is not as important as what saving will teach you .

I understand you might have been told about OPM — Other People Money . I will advise you , do not buy into it . Nothing makes you believe in your dream than you putting all you have on the line . Borrowing to start a business will cripple you mind with fear and sometimes taint your creativity .

If you must consider entrepreneurship, learn how to save .

3.Be A Servant Leader .

Its cool to be called an MD /CEO , chairman or emperor ( choose anything ) but this will give you positional power . If you must own your trade , be ready to be all in your company . I have once been the cleaner , the gateman , the nurse , the cashier in my hospital . If you must survive , lead your team from the front . Show example by doing and not by writing or giving order alone. Appellations or title is sweet when you earn it .

4.Do What You Love .

This is difficult to find especially when the clarity is blurry and the end is not in view . However , trudge on , the vision will be clear . I used to like doing surgeries when I started my hospital . I could literally sleep , eat , play in the theatre . Now , I enjoy the management part of the job more . And that is what I love most .

If you will find what you love , work will become bliss and therein your duty you will find reward . Your work will become pleasure such that vacations will be an abominable act. And this is when entrepreneurship becomes bliss.

5. Never Give Up Learning

I am a reader because I am a leader . Isn’t that were told in primary schools ?

Bill Gates , Warren Buffet, Oprah , Elon Musk — all obey the 5 hours rule . Most successful entrepreneurs in the world spend a minimum of 5 hours in a week studying , reading , learning and experimenting.

Do not allow the drudgery of work take away the need for learning . Attend seminars , buy courses , invest in books , teach others . Learning is the foundation of all successful decisions . And you need a good head to make multiple decisions .

6. Delegate Like A Maestro .

Being a servant leader does not make you jack of all activities . If you must survive , you must learn how to multiply yourself . From the inception , imbibe the spirit of letting go of some routine duties and be ready to teach others what you know . Do not tow the lines of shop owners who are always tie down in a cubicle because they can not delegate . You will delegate like you own a multi billion company . If you will learn how to delegate , you will know it .

7. Burn The Bridges .

You can not be a Janus-faced entrepreneur , looking back each time you encounter a barrier . If you have a side gig, prepare to let it go . And if you have resigned to start your own company , never entertain the thought of going back . The thought of an escape route is enough to dampen your resolve to succeed . Plan B is for a weak Plan A . When the battle is tough and you think of rebuilding a bridge to escape , build it extending forward , over your barriers and limitations . Trust yourself .You will win .

8. Trust The Process .

Nothing keeps you going at the beginning like your trust in the process. The outcome is not yours to control. The process is what you do every second, which directly under your control. They say keep your eye on the the goal . No, reverse it . Keep your eyes on the process and keep the goal on your head . When the process is good , the outcome will be good too. Who writes a bad sentence and expect a good paragraph?

9. Relationship Is Everything .

You have a family ? Everyone has ( lol) .Relationships have saved my company once and it has always been my pillars .

I find succour in my family , being one of the reasons I stand up everyday to show up .

Entrepreneurship, like charity, should begin at home . Make your home your fortress but never make it a sanctuary . Your relationship should support your dreams and not to dissuade you from chasing your dreams .

Cultivate good relationships across boards. Make many friends as much as you can, and keep your enemies closer too.The latter may be of help someday.

Mentors , friends , fans , supporters etc are your enablers . Treasure them more than your office furniture and equipments .

10. Never Walk Alone

Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey on a narrow path. Do not make it harder than that. Find a community of entrepreneurs and share pain and victories. What a community of true entrepreneurs will teach you, you will never learn it in a book. Do not be a hoard knowledge, tools or tactics. Those who do, do not have true happiness. Givers are blessed. Takers are losers. When you release what you have, your purse is free to take fresh blessings .

When the night is dark and the Sun has refused to share its warmth, your community will shine her light, providing illumination and some warmth.The community is everywhere. Finding a good one is your heroes journey . If you are good enough ,they will even find you .If you can not find one , create one . People want focused leaders .

You are never alone. You have chosen a path of greatness. Walk your own path but remember you can always collaborate .

You will succeed . As someone said, “show up, show up, one day success will show up”.

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