I believe there is a big misconception with regards to what a business owner/entrepreneur is. Many have been sold the suit and tie symbolic status with regards to what it means to be a business owner.
Rarely have I seen the highlights on the brutal truths on what the business market entails. Sleepless nights, financial constraints and may I never live to forget the anxiety, fear and doubt that never leaves the minds of those who decide to venture into the unpredictable world of the business market.
Hi, my name is Nelago Johannes, I am 23-years-old and I run a facial steamer and essential oil business (La Fille), as well as a public speaking consultancy (The Speakers Power) alongside my business partner, Charles Makari (23-years-old).
It started out as a simple hypothesis that we hoped to prove, to be true in the midst of what we now call, the pandemic. This happened after we found a gap in the market, with regards to the sales and availability of oils, such as the eucalyptus essential oils that became very popular for their ability to combat Covid-19 symptoms. An idea can be great, but it is only as great as its ability to come alive and survive. In our process of rampaging through ideas, it became evident that money would pose to be a problem of some sort. (226)
One of the biggest struggle amongst young people, a struggle I can attest to myself, is the tedious inability to finance our business idea. Resources are scarce and money is the rarest of them all. Innovative products and business models are the foundation of any promising startup. However, we also needed a steady flow of income, that would help keep the business afloat in it is early stages of turning it from an idea to a reality.
Funding a business is fundamental to helping improve the likelihood of being able to afford hiring the right people, and valuable in launching a comprehensive marketing strategy to get a foothold in the market. This can be a stressful and difficult process when starting a new business venture. As an entrepreneur, you will face several challenges while seeking the funds, one because you will be tasked with convincing others that your idea is a solid investment.
There are quite a number of challenges we have faced starting a business.
Handling money incorrectly.
For any startup, money is a very big deal and it needs proper handling. One of the biggest mistakes we did was spending too much money and hiring people that essentially over promised and under delivered, giving us less value on our investment, hence making losses that we did not prepare for.
Anyone hoping to start a business, we advise you to be hopeful while preparing for the worst. Better safe than sorry.
Being afraid to fail and marketing
Our business has been running for about a year now, in our first financial year, we did little to no marketing. Afraid of criticism and skeptical about our new business idea, we were unfortunately more concerned about the reputation of what we thought was a mind-blowing idea then finding out about our ideas credibility, and ability to be lucrative in the business market.
So yes, we chose to use word of mouth to sell our steamers and oils, honestly just crossing our fingers it sells. Sales were everything but great, if anything losses were made and less then 10% was sold in our first sales month.
Not many people tell you how easy it is for your business to fail, especially if you do not put it out there to test the market forecast. It is easy to fall into a pit of depression considering the financial and time investment placed in an idea. A business often becomes something personal to the owner. It is like a child. Like any loving parent, you raise up your children, giving them the best of yourself and remain confident that someday they will come back to yield promising returns on what is essentially an investment in their abilities to be great members of society. So you hope for the best. When the best doesn’t happen, it is very easy to take the loss as a personal attack on yourself. Digging yourself out of a petty party can be by far the biggest struggle you will face. Knowing you placed your soul in one piece and having what feels like “the world spitting it out” is a bruise to anyone with an ego (everyone).
My best advice will be; when you do decide to get out into the world of business, if you’re going to risk it, risk it having built a strong backbone making reservations for any losses that you might incur. Just in case it all comes crumbling down, you would have built a strong enough mind and tolerance threshold to withstand the bruises that come knocking on every part of your body, reputation, bank account and for some family home. Learn to spread your wings, it’s not promised you will fly but if you never try, you will never know if you were born to fly. So take the leap of faith.
It is a constant sacrificial game of your time, resources, energy and a piece of your soul. But if you really love what you are doing, every mistake will be a lesson for a better vision and idea. Every challenge will be stepping stone to a wiser, strong and more innovative you. I believe every problem is an opportunity for a solution and every business idea, is essentially an attempt to solving or improving some way of life in our everyday lifestyle.
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