Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

Strategy + Patience = Success

“There is no royal road to anything, one thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.” Josiah Gilbert Holland  

Instant sales, results and profitability seem to be the mantra of today’s marketplace. It seems to be so deeply ingrained into our subconscious, that to think otherwise is blasphemy. However, in this mind blistering tizzy we seem to be losing an important component of the success formula, patience. The sad reality of business is, that instant results are often short lived without adequate planning and strategy. Sure, everyone would like to accelerate the speed of achieving targets. However, we have to keep in check what is on the line for this short term acceleration. Very often we forget to look at the bigger picture, lose patience and ultimately throw in the towel if we do not see the result we want. Is this an optimal strategy? I think not. 

From the onset you have to realize, that the startup route requires long term outlook. Looking for great short terms gains usually results in disappointment and disillusionment. For a long term perspective, we need to develop a strategy accordingly. Many a time during your journey, things will not go as planned. If you fail to adjust your strategy accordingly, growing impatient with the lack of momentum is inevitable. This is a situation that needs to be avoided at all costs, as it can bring your startup to a very abrupt end. 

There are a couple of pointers that help me through tough times when my patience is being severely tested:

1. Take a break: If your startup has been through a couple of challenging quarters, I suggest you take a short break from the routine. A break could be a short holiday, catching up with friends, taking a course or doing some community work. This helps to clear the mind, and see things from a different perspective. It is like hitting the reset button when the base memory is full and slowing everything down.

2. Adjust strategy: This is something I have done repeatedly in some of my past ventures. It requires looking at your current strategy statement, and comparing it with feedback that you have received. Is the market asking for something else? Are we selling to the wrong market segment? Is our market positioning correct? What are our successful competitors doing differently? Take a comprehensive snapshot of where you are and where you want to be. Is there a disconnect somewhere? If you find a gap, adjust your strategy to make sure you fill it.

3. Accepting change: Lets face it, if you have spent the last year building an organization which has not gathered the momentum you expected, changing your strategy is going to be a challenge. Talk things over with your team, investors and mentors. Make sure everyone on the team buys into a new direction. You may lose key people at this juncture, this is unfortunate, but something you must take in your stride and remain focused on the end goal.

4. Analyze yourself: It is during tough times that the true character of individuals is revealed. Take this opportunity to see and gauge how you manage your actions and emotions at this time. Are you more vocal? Do you participate less in discussions? How does your mood affect the rest of the team? In the end you can only take responsibility for your attitude. Make sure that it is not negatively affecting everyone around you.

5. Asking for feedback: Get feedback from your clients, distributors, suppliers, mentors, investors, friends and family. Receiving feedback from a diverse group of individuals will help you see the forest for the trees. I find this process rejuvenating as I get affirmation for what I am doing, it also helps me look at situations from different angles. 

Instant success for entrepreneurial startups are rare anomalies. If you plan to embark on this journey make sure you realize that it is for the long haul. It will require you to remain committed to your strategy, and constantly keep adapting it to what the market wants. As an entrepreneur you can never find yourself standing still, if you do, losing your patience will be inevitable.

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One Response

  1. […] 1. Strategic Indecision: Instant success for entrepreneurial start-ups is a rare anomaly. If you embark on this journey, make sure you realize it is for the long haul. It will require remaining committed to your strategy, and to constantly adapt it to market demands. Inability to adapt and change will give rise to growing impatience which will impact negatively on your business. To read more about patience and strategic indecision please click here. […]

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