SEASONAL TRANSITIONS IN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY
I have had many twists and turns when it comes to running my own business. In fact, I have run a number of businesses in different fields. Two of those businesses you may be familiar with are the Allure Spa and Wellness venture and my Personal Impact and High-Performance Coaching enterprise. For us as entrepreneurs, the journey is never cut out straight and it is far from smooth.
Many entrepreneurs have tried several times to be successful in one particular business. Others have also transitioned from one of business field to another. Yet, the things that remain common are the challenges, failure triggers and seemingly constant hardships. The threat that our business could fail at any point in time is a hard pill to swallow. And the reason for such failure may be due to our mishandling of our own business or due to external factors that we barely have any control over.
Throughout my entrepreneurship journey, I have come to realize that we are custodians of our destiny and it is up to us to react positively or negatively when we are hit with the worst scenario. At a certain point in time in my business, I was forced to put a hold on what I was working on and go back to the corporate life where I had to work for someone else. My business venture had taken several hard hits and to get to the point of being financially capable to keep it running, so I considered working for someone else. Did it mean that I was a failure? No! Did it mean that I had put a hold on my dreams? Absolutely not! I simply hit a point where I had to pull back and take a slight detour. It was a phase of transitioning just for a given period. My whole life did not have to come to a halt because I had encountered an obstacle. Mentally, it was draining and emotionally it was heartbreaking. But I had my heart in my business and I was determined to do everything in my power to get it running with stability. So, I did what I had to do.
I am not the only entrepreneur who may have had to make seemingly crazy choices for the good of their business. Now imagine having to find a publisher for your book and being rejected by 36 different book publishers. That was the story of American-Greek Author, Ariana Huffington. Many of us probably after the 10th reject would have thrown in the towel or even convinced ourselves that we are not good enough. But for Ariana, taking no was not an option. “The Huffington Post wasn’t an overnight success when it was founded in 2005. Critics largely panned it for its poor quality and dismissed its potential. By 2011, the Huffington Post received over a billion pageviews a year, and was purchased by AOL for $315 million.” – Inc. The first lesson here is that you must be relentless.
As of 2016, Nigerian company, Wild Fusions was worth averagely 6 million dollars. This was after 6 years when Entrepreneur Abasiama started his Digital Marketing company with USD250. Given how foreign and new the concept of Digital Marketing was in Africa, and Nigeria for that matter, he had a very challenging time. He took a bold step with Baby M, a small business that catered to the needs of new mothers and their babies. Baby M had a network of sales agents who searched for customers on a daily basis to make ends meet. Abasiama finally managed to convince Baby M, his first customer, to give him a chance by offering a money back guarantee if he did not give the company a return on investment. Through his success with Baby M, he became one of the most successful Digital Marketing Agencies in Africa, working with clients such as Unilever and Vodacom.
Divine Ndhlukula always had an entrepreneurial passion; she would sell clothing to her colleagues and rent out trucks to construction companies to make a little extra money. But her entrepreneurial momentum was side tracked. Her brother fell on hard times and she had to sell all her budding enterprises to save him from bankruptcy. She had to go work with her brother on his farm to keep it afloat and almost lost her house while trying to keep the farm afloat. Once she returned to work, she became aware of an entrepreneurial opportunity to branch into the security services sector. She decided to enter into this sector because of how she, as a customer, experienced the sector. Ndhlukula found that the security sector lacked the professionalism, quality and services that a number of businesses required. Although she did not have a passion for security, she had a passion for business. So. with almost no capital and no knowledge of security she started her business with a determination to succeed. SECURICO is now one of Zimbabwe’s largest security groups and has partnerships in South Africa, China and India. Ndhlukula’s business has developed into a world-class security service organization.
Sometimes in our journey as entrepreneurs, we may feel as though we are the only ones going through the struggle. We are not! As I transitioned through the point where I had to leave my business and go and work for another person, I knew I would return a better person. Are you at a point where you have to make a poignant decision that will determine whether your business will survive or fail? Do you need a push to make that challenging and very difficult choice because you are uncertain about the outcome? Here are 4 Ps that can help you as you come to a decision.
- PLAN TO COMEBACK.
I have always wondered why we stay at the bottom when life hits us very hard. One thing I have come to appreciate about life through my many experiences is that, you can always decide to carve out your path no matter what! As long as you are alive and breathing, you can give life to your dreams. Unless you are no longer passionate about that particular business, if you truly want to make it, you are the best driver! You can comeback despite the number of times people tell you ‘no’ or in spite of the number of times it gets very sour. Make a plan that reflects the lessons you have learnt. Review, reflect and make a refreshed plan that will ensure you are not repeating old mistakes and that you are making better choices to influence a different outcome.
- POSITIONING IS KEY
Sometimes, holding back may mean we need to completely shut down the business and comeback after a number of years. In other cases, we can still run it at low capacity and entrust it to someone who has similar drive as us. Whatever choice we are able to make, we must remember that our position in our business is key.
If you ever have to consider holding back for a while to reenergize yourself psychologically and financially, do not approach it with a mindset that you have failed. Consider all the things you are sure to learn if you open your mind and allow the people around you to teach you new things. One thing I always reiterate is the fact that soft skills are important, and they can only be learnt with intention. So, for instance if you always cave under pressure and that causes you to lose an opportunity, consider being intentional this time with self-control, comportment and patience. You will be surprised how much you will learn.
- STAY PRESENT.
Having to transition and take a step back is not an easy decision at all. In whatever new job or position you find yourself; you must stay present and give a 100%. Be present and do what you will do if it were your own business. There is value to be gained, financial rewards to be earned and a lot of skills to be learnt when we avail ourselves and learn what we should. These are all tools that you will re-channel to your own business at the right time, so stay present!
- PULL BACK WHEN YOU ARE READY.
It may not seem like it but you will get to the point where you are ready and prepared to come back to your business. And guess what? You will return so much better, with a newer perspective and more skills to help you run things more smoothly.
Entrepreneurship is not a one-time race. It is a lifelong journey that requires skill and care and intentionality. Do not be stuck or distracted looking at other people’s success. Instead, be motivated and driven to be more focused on ourselves to become the best version of ourselves. You can win and you will win when you allow yourself to grow and be transformed through and through.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on email@example.com and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.