Professional Development & Learning Services

It’s Like Being Blind & Naked!

Hand reaching out in darkness

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

People sometimes ask what it’s like to be a business owner or entrepreneur?  For those of us fortunate enough to choose this path, we can agree there is a sense of both trepidation and accomplishment in being your own boss and having a say in your own destiny.

Speaking for myself – it’s like being blind…and naked!  And that’s a GOOD thing!

Here’s why…

When you first start out in business, you really don’t know what to expect.  It’s like stumbling and feeling round in a dark unfamiliar room trying to find the light switch.  But being blind has its advantages – because your other senses get to kick in.  And as your vision adjusts, you find those light switches.  You learn the lay of the land and get a new perspective on things around you.  Eventually you “see” what the sighted (more experienced and learned business people) already know or perhaps are still learning.

As for being naked – that simply means you are vulnerable and “know it”! You accept that you don’t know everything, or you don’t have a great deal of resources so you might have to go without some essentials for a while. You may even need to reach out and ask for help from time to time.  And that’s okay!

Fact is – everyone is vulnerable; some of us just don’t realize it! But being self-aware has enormous advantages because foresight is better than hindsight!

Business ownership doesn’t require an educational degree to be successful. Though that’s a tremendous asset to have! But it does take a special mindset, readiness, and ability to push forward despite setbacks. Entrepreneurship entails stamina and resiliency; it requires people helping other people along the way… sharing what they know … and being open to learning something new every day.

Based on my journey, I’d like to pass along some tips and insights that will hopefully propel you forward.  All I ask is that you do the same for the next aspiring fellow that comes along.

Tip #1: Believe in Yourself.

Belief is fundamental and can become contagious. It breathes life into your Vision. It helps to develop your team spirit and define your business strategy.

Business ownership is full of highs, lows, and everything in between.  At times it may feel like the entire world is watching and judging, cheering or jeering, prodding you on or pushing you to jump! Just remember, you are the architect of your business and author of your own story.

Believe - and Stay True to Yourself

If you don’t believe in your ability to lead your company toward success under any circumstances, who will? A strong core of belief bolsters individual self-reliance and drives us forward even in times of great challenges and hardship, encouraging others to also believe and follow us onward.

So, know and trust yourself. Believe in what you will accomplish. Then move forward and start doing it.

Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, think differently than you do, are creative problem-solvers, and are willing to challenge you in a constructive way. Their contributions will help you solidify your Vision and strategy if you are open to the opportunities presented. Such a team will help you grow as a person, a business owner, and a leader.

Together with like-minded believers, you can move mountains.

Tip #2: Prepare and Commit for the Long-run.

If you think owning a business will bring you a great deal of money and sustained success overnight, you’re probably going to be disappointed!  Entrepreneurship can be a long and complicated road to travel – filled with straight and winding roads, hills and valleys, potholes, detours, dead-ends, crossroads, bridges, and breathtaking scenery along the way.  A memorable trip if you stay the course! Prepare for a Marathon - Not a Sprint

Figure out your passion, and ensure your business fits your mold, because you have to be all in and totally committed to seeing things through.

Financial security is important, but don’t be fooled.  Money comes and goes; your business has to continue on whether your bank account is fat or lean at the moment.

Success and failure are both necessary for growth and development. Real achievement entails hard work and consistent effort – for the entire duration.  It takes stamina and endurance to own and operate your legacy.

Tip #3: Know and Plan for the Market and Your Competition.

Ancient Greek storyteller Aesop taught us to “look before you leap!”  Good advice 2500 years ago, and still applicable for us today. Yes, it’s enticing to come up with an awesome idea and then “go for it” with full gusto!  Yet, if it’s as groundbreaking as you think it will be, why not let your concept bake a few more months while you test the recipe to ensure it not only looks appetizing and tastes great, but also actually sells!

Know your space and competitionWhile lack of cash flow and capital is high on the list of reasons why many companies eventually fold, lack of preparation is the main reason many business concepts don’t even get off the ground.

In fact, not planning for current state as well as future changes in the marketplace and from competition may not only trip startups, but also cut down long-established companies that have become complacent.

Take the time to learn about your industry; discover the local government-sponsored resources available in your community.  Dive into who your customers are, what they need, and what they want but don’t get; check out your competitors and uncover what they are doing that sets them apart – what works, what doesn’t work.

Do your research and know your battleground before you jump into the fray. You can avoid or minimize the pitfalls if you know what to expect, increasing your opportunities and chance for long-term success.

Author: Julie Ramdial, President of U Learn Enterprises, Inc.