So I was asked to write about how you deal with disappointment and adversity in business. The thing is, these things are par for the course in any business venture and so it’s not something that actually needs to be examined; at least in my opinion anyway. And I have been in business for 14 years.
Instead I am going to talk about something else that is the cornerstone of business that addresses issues to do with disappointment and such in business.
First a bit of perspective! Before starting to write my first book(The 8 Platforms of Business Success) in 2011, the majority of the adult working people I spoke to always said that they intended to start a business at some time. And so I thought that if I wrote a practical business management guide book, people would hound me to buy a copy. When I told people I was writing a book about business management they said they would definitely buy it as it would be an investment in their journey to running their own business.
At that time I had gone through 2 businesses and I was on my third. In the process of running those businesses my process had been comprised of mainly ideas, capital and hard work and I was good to go. And that was the same with what many, people thought these where the main ingredients in succeeding in business. What a surprise I was in for when I finished my book and the demand was shockingly underwhelming. All these people would just not commit to buying a book about running a business. The more it happened the more I became fascinated with the disparity between ‘I want to run my own business sometime’ and basically avoiding investing in a book which could help them in their journey to actually running their own business.
Actually they don’t mean it
After a while I came to the conclusion that many people that say they want to run their own business, actually don’t mean it. What it really is, is a romantic notion which is never really acted upon. The next question was, then who really is a business person at heart. Who are the people who actually act on this dream and stay with it. Who really means it?
This led me to more research resulting in my writing a short book called The Earnings Manifesto. In this book I basically explained that different people have earning fields that they are most suited to and this is determined more by their personality rather than education or other factors separated from who they are inside. It’s not so much about intelligence or acumen, but about where you naturally function best. I found that there are people more suited to being employed, some to being self employed, others to being business people and yet others to being entrepreneurs(I differentiate between just a business person and what I call an entrepreneur). It is this personality trait that is in business people and entrepreneurs that allows them to function in business with all its pitfalls, hardships and disappointments. It’s called faith!
Let’s talk about Faith
The definition of faith that I like the most is the Christian bible one that says, “faith is the hope of things not yet seen.”
I don’t know about you but to me there is nothing that requires more faith than stepping out to run your own business. Think about this, when you leave a solid job you get a last pay check and there is no telling whether you will ever get another.
You step out with the thought that people out there will like your product or service and buy or pay enough for it for you to retain your capital whilst making enough profit to maintain your life with all of its expenses. Usually when you start a business for the first time, it has a lot to do with a dream.
Then invariably the sales don’t come through, people don’t like your products or service or there are not just enough of them buying what you are offering that you cannot afford your life….or at least your former working life. Then we come to promises being broken. Someone said if you launched they would support your business, or give you capital, or introduce you to the right people you need to take off. And of course they don’t! It virtually happens to every first time entrepreneur.
Either the sales are not enough, or the promised capital doesn’t come through, or that company that promised would order from you, becomes unavailable etc. It is at this time when it does not make sense at all to be in business and the only reason you stay in business is because you have faith.
Faith to the logical mind does not make sense. You are ‘failing’ but you still carry on. You have no capital but you still carry on. The people who said they would give you business don’t….but you still carry on. You act with the hope that it will get better and work out somehow even though you cannot for now explain even to yourself how. This becomes who you are.
If you do not have this faith, this love for what you are doing, this vision that no one else apart from you can see, then you will not get up when you fall. You will not bounce back from the no’s when you go out to sell, you cannot recover from the shock of not getting capital from that source which was a done deal just yesterday. You cannot believe the person who encouraged you to start and promised to place orders, and now acts like they never promised you such. That’s business!
So what can we say to that person who is doing business? Well, the first thing is really a question. Do you really mean it that you want to be in business? If the answer is yes, then the biggest ingredient you need is faith!
Get up, get going and do it again. Expect to ‘fail’ again tomorrow, and the day after and take it as an education. You will not succeed in business if you do not graduate from the school of hard knocks. It’s just the way it is. Somehow the business life was made in such a way that you have to go through this; and the test is not your acumen or how educated you are, but whether you can toughen up in character and get up time and time again….and just act in faith.
Maybe you don’t believe me. Let me leave you with the words of the man who started the most valuable company in the world; Steve Jobs.
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing, and it’s totally true. The reason is because it is so hard and if you don’t (have passion), any rational person would give up. It’s really hard; and you have to do it over a sustained period of time. If you don’t love it, if you are not having fun doing it, you are going to give up. Oftentimes the ones who succeed in the eyes of society loved it that they persevered when it really got tough and the ones who didn’t love it, quit, because they are sane. It’s a lot of hard work and it is a lot of worrying constantly.”