It was my last day at work and the first day of the next phase of my life. I had decided to become a full time entrepreneur and solely focus on building my own business.
My 10-month-old baby daughter would be my constant companion since my nanny was going away on leave at that time. This meant that it would take me longer than expected to get my business up and running.
Several weeks later, I now realize that setting up a business is a gradual process that requires time and dedication. Things also don’t always go as planned. Here is what I have learnt from my journey:
Have short, medium and long term goals
Dividing your goals into these categories will help you to focus while managing your time effectively. A popular acronym developed by George T. Doran is S.M.A.R.T. This means that all goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
Practising this approach can be beneficial if adopted at the initial stages of business development. Overlooking any of the criteria could hamper progress and create frustration.
I, for example, wanted to have my company up and running in two weeks. However, this was not possible given my home situation. I was able to adjust accordingly and establish my company within a more realistic time frame.
In taking this approach, I quickly learnt that focusing on gaining a large customer base and revenue without fully building and understanding my business model would not work.
According to Martin Reeves and Mike Deimler in their Harvard Business Review article, Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage, a company must have its antennae tuned to signals of change from the external environment, decode them, and quickly act to refine or reinvent its business model, and even reshape the information landscape of its industry.
Going into the same industry as my previous employer, I initially believed that developing a similar work structure would lead to business success. However, I realized that this approach would not be ideal given the lack of human and financial capital on my end.
I chose to adopt the most relevant aspects for my business such as customer relations. I opted to take a different approach on other aspects such as marketing.
Goals are moving targets
Business goals are moving targets. You can’t afford to get comfortable as this leads to stagnation. It is important to be open to providing current market needs. Keep abreast of the happenings in your industry as well as related industries.
This can be done through reading business journals and articles, attending conferences with industry peers, or simply carrying out research to understand the latest developments in the market. As an entrepreneur you need to keep up with the ever-changing market needs.
Enjoy the ride
Make the most of your experiences. Learn from each of them. Don’t be consumed by the business, however, as this will result in stress. In order to avoid frustration devise various coping mechanisms.
According to Forbes magazine, this could be as simple as scheduling breaks throughout the day or focusing on other interests that are unrelated to your business. Most importantly, appreciate your family in this moment. In my case, being with my baby daughter was the best stress reliever I had and probably will ever have.
At the end of the day, my nanny being away turned out to be a blessing in disguise.