The reality was that it took us 6 years, limping from month to month, to achieve anything more than just keeping our heads above water. But after 6 years we became not just profitable, but exponentially profitable.
When I tell my story to budding or potential entrepreneurs I can plainly see their negative reaction to the time it took our business to make a return on our efforts. I suspect that many consider this time-frame too long for anyone to spend in the learning process.
Consider for a moment how many years of study it takes to become a professional in other vocations such as a specialist surgeon. Why then would most people find it surprising that it took me 6 years to learn how to become qualified, experienced and effective at my profession as an entrepreneur?
When I look back on my journey I see a lot of similarities to other professional learning processes, such as lack of sleep, long hours, an enormous and often overwhelming workload and frequent spells of doubt. My initial financial investment though was less than the cost of studying to become a surgeon as I was still getting paid whilst learning, albeit not very much.
The fact is that we do ultimately pay a financial investment for our lessons. Most successful entrepreneurs will have had the odd failed business venture or bad decision or two along the way that accounts for significant sums of money lost. It’s just the nature of the pursuit and in most cases should be viewed as ‘school fees’ and not as failure.
As student entrepreneurs, we unfortunately don’t get any chances to practice on dead people, as most surgeons do before they are let loose on living patients! Imagine wanting to become a brain surgeon and suggesting to someone that you would like to practice on them because you know what a scalpel looks like and you know what a brain looks like? Can you imagine the mess?
Looking at it this way it makes total sense that 90% of all new businesses fail. The leaders of those businesses, in most cases, have absolutely no idea what they are doing when they start out yet they are "operating" in the real world from day one. Their form of university learning decrees that they will learn in isolation with no classmates to support them, by a process of elimination and guesswork whilst scraping a living together in the process. This is calledexperience and whilst experience is undoubtedly an excellent teacher it is also a very slow one.
The good news is that the door to the University of Entrepreneurship is always open. There are neither entrance exams nor distinction requirements. A high IQ (luckily for me) is no guarantee of success in a world that doesn’t abide by proven theories and pure logic. A high EQ in the hands of the uneducated entrepreneur can more likely serve to land his followers as well as himself in an early business grave. Having a high EnQ (entrepreneurial intelligence) on the other hand is a valuable advantage, and hence my vision to develop a curriculum for EnQ learning for those who take their professional development seriously.
Wishing you all a successful November,