2014; PAPERS CLOSED, BUSINESS OPEN!
It’s a normal practice for organizations and businesses to review their operations at the end of each year. In so doing, they seek to analyze their successes and failures so as to apply the lessons learnt to the operations of the incoming year. If this is the practice for large organization and even new enterprises, shouldn’t it also apply to intending entrepreneurs?
It is commonplace to see business success stories at this time of the year, but there seem to be no mention at all for those who aspired but never made it to business launch. So many new and existing businesses were celebrated in 2013; some were recipients of grants and awards, while some others got increased media exposure. Amidst all these, it is easy to forget that there are countless other ‘entrepreneurs’ whose businesses never saw the light of day. It is therefore important to know why these well-conceived ideas remained only in the minds of their creators and in business plans.
I did observe that there was a lot of government and corporate involvement in the entrepreneurial world in 2013, a move which, although beneficial in its own right, redirected the entrepreneurial focus altogether. Natural entrepreneurial terminologies (such as use your instincts, smell what sells, be creative) was substituted for corporate terminologies (such as write business plans, risk analysis, and feasibility reports) as these were requirements for grants, loans etc. As a result, many intending entrepreneurs became driven by facts and not the belief of the entrepreneurial mind. The need to “get it right” pushed them towards massive accumulation of information which, in reality, threw up more negatives than positives.
Looking at the start-up stories of global brands such as Virgin and Facebook among others, it is clear that what propelled them to success in their early years was the belief and proactive nature of their founders. All other theoretical issues were dealt with as the need for sustainability arose. From this, we see that business research is fundamental for sustainability and growth, but it should not be the central driving force behind any business idea at the start-up stage.
What lessons should the intending entrepreneurs then take forward into 2014? Well, it’s quite simple; “dreams are not achieved on theories”. For as many who intend to launch their businesses in 2014, there is the need to rediscover the momentum you lost while piling up plans and reports in the months of 2013. We need to stop looking for the perfect business and just follow our passion and see where it leads us. The end result of that may be a new business that falls short of our expectations but we will have on our hands, a business which challenges our entrepreneurial mind to innovate rather than an idea which remains in the analytical realm of the papers.
Someone once said “madness is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results”. I think it is time for intending entrepreneurs to shake off that “intending” tag by going against the popular opinion of so called experts (most of whom are employees themselves). True entrepreneurs are not scared of failure, they take calculated risks, they innovate, and in most cases, they rely on their instincts to create the successful businesses we all celebrate today. They hire experts to create the papers, while they get on with the business of business; if you want to join the league of entrepreneurs in 2014 (as Richard Branson will say), “Screw it, let’s do it”.