Financial Management

Persistence Will Keep You in Business

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Though I have not started throwing stones yet I am a football fanatic, not likely to miss any iconic meet. Anyone who watched the Champions League game between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) will definitely tell you they understand the meaning of “fighting like a wounded lion” particularly in business ventures.  Being football enthusiast, of course I waited for this one encounter with abetted breath, not because I was very particular in any team support.

May I bring to speed many of you who did not have the opportunity to watch this game? It was happening at Stanford Bridge, the home to Chelsea football club. The hosts were banking on a possible away goal after the first encounter and of course the home advantage to chevron to the last 8 in this prestigious tournament. A red card to Zlatan Ibramovic, one that seemed unfair to the Swede owing to behavior of Chelsea players, did not help PSG who were reduced to ten men in the early stages of the game. Twice, Chelsea would take a lead but PSG kept equalizing and in the end, the later took it home.

Persistence is described as the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed or keeping the momentum on certain despite the specific conditions or environment around. A lot of success stories in life are decorated in their paths by hardships or challenges but those who wade through are mostly powered by the element of persistence.

The last fours years, I have dealt a lot with entrepreneurs, mostly in retail business, including startups. Around 50% of new ventures do not make it past six months since inception. Studies around this phenomenon point almost to the same issues that we can indulge in a later platform. Even when the same startups are taken through incubation in private centers or some of the public universities who cultivate them through skills development and resources support, still only 80% survive. 20% are lost in less than one year, of course with a lot of lessons picked and the entrepreneur wiser than before.

Clearly then, the tenet of persistence becomes very pertinent in both startups and existing business. The business climate can be very cruel. One great tutor on new ventures management at a local and highly profiled business school once commented that as long as a business person rolls out the first day in a new endeavor, they should expect a myriad of teething symptoms to take root. If it is not stiff competition within the industry, then its cash flow issues. Or even suppliers who do not honor their time lines hence causing strains with customers. Many interactions I have with entrepreneurs have ended up in discussions in this matter. Keeping their heads high up and being positive breaks the chain of losing a good business idea at its infancy. Persistence is what causes one to think of different ways of doing the same process and opens up new results.

In one of the frequently mentioned quotes that make reference to the act of persistence, Thomas Edison says he did not fail. Rather, he found 10,000 ways that won’t work, and ended up making the first successful light bulb; and of course electricity is a major utility driving economies around the world.

So, for all budding entrepreneurs or those with intentions of setting up income generating activities, remember to prepare yourself for turbulent times, but above all, create a sense of persistence in everyone involved in that venture. Ultimately, you will make it to the 80% who never lose it under a year, but end up creating enterprises that make an impact for generations.

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