There is one certainty in business: As an entrepreneur, you will definitelyencounter challenges. Contracts may be dishonoured. There will be times when customers do not pay on time, resulting in cash flow problems that could cripple your ability to pay business expenses. Competitors will emerge with improved products, better pricing, or new marketing strategies that captivate your clients and erode your market share. Equipment will break down, and more. There is a whole host of challenges that you will need to overcome.
Often the challenges are bearable and one may be able to successfully navigate the business through them. There may be times though when the problems seem insurmountable; times when it seems as if you are hitting your head against one brick wall after another and there appears to be no way out. At those times the voice of discouragement will scream loudly and your resolve will waver as you feel your power ebb into an ocean of hopelessness. This is often the most critical point on your path to success.
Is it a breaking point or a breakthrough point?
A critical point is a point where you either succumb to failure or push through the challenges to take hold of that which you thought was impossible.
Breakthrough is only available to those who persevere, those who will go the extra mile to meet the deadline and deliver to the customer against all odd. those who will complete the market research required so that they can convince a prospective funder that the venture is worth investing in… those who will continue to knock at the doors of opportunity and courageously face their fear of rejection in spite of the many doors that will be slammed in their faces.
Success is the ability to push through the moments where it’s just easier to quit.
A study done by ABSA, which was released in September 2012, found that only 11% of SMME’s last for longer than 18 years. This study confirms that the entrepreneurial journey is perilous. 89% of the SMME’s could not persevere through the challenges. It is human nature to quit when the going gets tough. We want the easier route, the faster solution, the less painful path. A common thread in the 11% that succeeded is the ability to persevere.
There is great benefit in persevering.
When you persevere you create scarcity. Your brand gains credibility and trust. That reputation can be leveraged for the benefit of business growth. For example, customers are more likely to buy from a company that has history than to buy from a newcomer into the market. By persevering you give yourself the opportunity to become a leader in your field and to charge a premium for your product or services.
When you persevere, you not only accomplish your goals, but you also grow as you acquire skills that you would not have gained were you to quit. For example, when faced with the challenge of raising funding you will have to know what venture capitalists and other funders require. This becomes an opportunity for you to look deeper into your business in order to ensure that the business will meet the expectations required and be able to repay the loan. As you prepare your pitch you learn the language and your business acumen grows. When you succeed in attracting the funding your business will grow, but it will also be easier for you to raise funding in future.
When you quit, all the time and effort that have been invested into a venture is lost. When you persevere, on the other hand, the time and effort is compounded and gives exponential returns.
It should be noted though that we do not advocate for perseverance under all circumstances.
There are times when it is best to quit. Maybe the product is becoming obsolete, or the costs of keeping the business running are higher than the rewards of sticking with it. Persevering in a business in the absence of forward progress is a waste of time and effort. The opportunity cost is too high. It would be better to quit.
For most problems though, you may need to persevere while you revise business strategies, improve your product or service, improve production efficiency, increase your marketing efforts, grow your sales, get referrals from your customers and/or acquire funding.
Entrepreneurs do not quit
What most studies of entrepreneurs fail to mention is that entrepreneurs may quit a particular business venture but they remain open to opportunity and soon start other ventures.
If your business is aligned with your passions, strengths, and values and you have a clear vision for the business, a solid business model with concomitant SMART goals, and action steps that you take consistently I encourage you to persevere in the face of adversity.
Your breakthrough is around the corner – Persevere!
Let us partner with you to accelerate your power to persevere so that you can grow your business.