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WANJOHI: Not all businesses will thrive, find out when to call it quits

by kenya-tribune
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By PURITY WANJOHI
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The other thing trending besides climate change worldwide is entrepreneurship. With every corner of the globe birthing a new entrepreneur, being one sets you apart and when you start a business, you’re celebrated.

The first stages of a business are exciting as they are gruesome. Most people start with a grand vision and plan. As is the case, they’ll most likely start out alone making them and the company one. When things are thick, passion will be the fuel keeping their dream alive.

This stage will pass fairly quickly and soon, their business will have a following. A few people will know their name, their crowd will change and so will the face of their social media.

It will now bear a plethora of business quotes, wise sayings of the heroes they hope to embody in every way, and early stage achievements. The only thing shinning brighter than their future will be the sun!

For 90 per cent of the new start-ups, business will begin to get harder. Some factors in or out of their control will have emerged.

Perhaps, it’s a change in government policy that directly affects business as seen in the case of the plastic bag ban and Apple Inc.

Or a change in consumer behaviour. Miss America had to drop its swimsuit section because its viewers complained that it was objectifying women. Or it could be purely bad luck! Whatever the reason is, they have no choice but to go back to the drawing board.

The first response of the founder(s) of a dying start-up is usually, ‘No, it will get better with time’. Being optimistic is great but at times, it is best to realise it’s time and cut the cord as fast as possible. It will not be any less painful but better now than tomorrow.

This is what happened to Jim, a young man who sunk in millions into a business only for it to sorely collapse. You can see the pain in his eyes and hear it in his voice as he narrates the ordeal. You don’t have to be Jim and here are signs that you need to pull the plug on your business.

One, you’ve lost passion for your start-up. If your business has stop exciting your inner (wo) man, you need to reconsider. It’s not easy to manufacture passion and a break may help reignite it or show you that it wasn’t there in the first place.

Two, you’re dying because of poor health. Some entrepreneurs assume that stress, physical and mental fatigue, etc is a price they have to pay for a prosperous start-up. If you’re burnt out, close shop since the next thing you’ll be giving up is your life.

Consider this: A breathing entrepreneur has more hope than a dead one. Three, your business doesn’t excite anyone but you. Businesses exist because there’s a market.

If your idea lacks the ‘wow’ factor or nobody cares about it, pull the plug. Perhaps it’s time hasn’t come yet. Embrace the fact that the market will dictate your success. Four, you’re losing talent. It is difficult to maintain talent as a start-up especially today’s generation.

However, people are usually willing to work for a vision. If your team is growing leaner by the minute, it’s time for a reassessment. Five, market unresponsiveness. Maybe your product/service isn’t on demand as you had thought. Instead of investing more resources, think of scaling down to discover what the problem could be. It will not be a loss but a gain in the long run. Six, you’ve discovered it’s not your thing.

Not everyone can be an entrepreneur and it’s not a shame to withdraw. At least you tried!

The thought of closing down a business is scary and there are many reasons why founding entrepreneurs don’t do it: they have a reputation to maintain or will be considered a failure. What will help is the realisation that the reason the business is failing in the first place is you- the entrepreneur.

The problem isn’t the market, the technology or the team. The problem is you. And when you admit your failings, take responsibility for them, learn from them for future use, you’ll be a far better entrepreneur and leader than when you first began. After all, for the true entrepreneur, entrepreneurship has no expiry date.



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