The Expectations vs Reality of Becoming an Entrepreneur
Today, becoming an entrepreneur and facing the heat of competition and expectations is a challenge that only a few have the traits and qualities of the calibre required to survive.
Entrepreneurship is no singular job or business activity. Instead, it is an ongoing passion engagement that demands your full attention, focus and dedication.
Committing oneself to a dream, a vision and the willingness to face the challenges that come with it is what best defines entrepreneurship.
This defining distinction is why not every person can succeed at it, but that certainly does not stop people from giving entrepreneurship a try.
For most people, starting on an entrepreneurial journey is full of risks and pitfalls. For example, it may require you to pitch for additional funds from friends and family so as to get your venture of the ground. This might be a truly testing and difficult proposition.
Many entrepreneurs struggle right from the initial stages of their entrepreneurial journey, but they are hopeful of success. While most are aware it might be difficult at first, they expect things will work out in the end and they will enjoy being their own boss. However, some statistics show over 50% of new businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years.
Being an entrepreneur does mean becoming your own boss, but for that you need to have certain qualities so your venture is not among the statistics of failed ones. From taking a strong stand about the things that you believe in, to identifying the right opportunities for your business, and keeping the market happy, there is a lot that goes into making a successful entrepreneur.
For improved chances of success in entrepreneurship, you need acumen planning strategic business policies and understand who your target audience is, as well as what they need. Financial matters have to be considered carefully as well, before taking any decisions that might have a long-standing impact on the financial health of your business.
At the end of the day, it is all about creating value with your business and building strategic networks coupled with enhanced business relations. As someone who attempts to become an entrepreneur, I can attest that the reality can be a lot different than your expectations. And this stands as the ultimate test of resolve and patience for any budding entrepreneur.
Realities of Being Your “Own Boss”
Entrepreneurship is a lot more than being one’s own boss and heading a business venture. It is about taking charge and responsibility in the fast-changing dynamics of the business environment. It is about staying updated with the day-to-day operations of your business, and keeping abreast of innovations and trends taking place in your world.
Since you don’t control market forces, the realities of your entrepreneurial journey can be widely different from your expectations. But, with the right agility, guidance, attitude, and resources, you can manoeuvre the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship and achieve quiet lot as an entrepreneur and a member of your community and wider society.
Manage expectations and reality
Here are some of the most common areas that make entrepreneurs realise how reality can be totally different from what you expect when going into entrepreneurship.
1. Doing It Yourself vs. Outsourcing
As an entrepreneur, there are many things that you would like to do on your own, in your own fashion, which emanates directly from your expectation about how things should be done and how you want them handled. However, given the array of jobs and responsibilities that you will be handling as an entrepreneur, you soon realize you may not be able to do it all by yourself.
In this case, it becomes necessary to outsource some of the tasks and jobs that you cannot handle by yourself. This is where the role of good teamwork and delegation comes in.
As an entrepreneur, it is your job to decide the tasks that you can handle on your own and the one’s that should be completed by your team or outside help. Teamwork has the added advantage of bringing greater value addition that benefits your entrepreneurial venture.
Hence, this is one aspect of entrepreneurship that you ought to focus on and develop, even if it goes against your expectations.
2. Loyal Customer vs. Timewaster
Generally, there are two broad types of customers that you will come across and have to deal with. One is the conventional loyal customer who will strive to maintain a good relationship with you and compensate you accordingly for the work that you do for them, even with genuine feedback and appraisals.
The other category of customers, who can seem like wasters of your precious time, will test your patience. They may even be the most demanding and argumentative, becoming the reason why you have to part with some of your crucial resources and fail to address loyal customers appropriately.
Now, you might be expecting that only loyal customers will come your way, but the reality is that is not always going to happen. You need to prepare for all types of customers in advance. Develop your aptitude to handle every type of customer and put measures in place on how each type of customer will be handled to ensure you remain professional and your business wins.
3. Need for Great Idea vs. All About Execution
Ideas are a powerful resource. Obtained in their crude form or even transmitted in their original form from one mind to another, they can transform your business for the better. Entrepreneurs benefit greatly from good ideas. You may even find it really hard to make your entrepreneurship venture work if you don’t ship great ideas to market. Even so, ideas do not work by themselves.
No matter how good your idea is, unless it holds some value and you execute it properly, you are not going to be able to make it work. Thereby lies a quagmire in entrepreneurship. Your can have very high expectations that your idea is the best out there, and yet not succeed with it because of how you executed the idea. You will come to find out that it is actually execution of ideas that leads to the most successful businesses and successful entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs often come to realise the importance of an idea too late when they fail to come up with a good one, or when they come up with a poor or non-existent execution plan. In either case, the goal to achieve excellent results in lieu of good ideas and execution should not be glossed over.
4. Freedom vs. Time Demand
Many people believe that entrepreneurship means being free to do what you want. That in turn births the expectation that you can spend time any way you like once you become an entrepreneur. This is not entirely true. In fact, it does not even come close to being true.
Compared to a traditional 9-5 job, being an entrepreneur demands much more time and focus from you. This is because, as an entrepreneur, you are ultimately responsible for all the operations, roles and duties that must be fulfilled on time and as expected in the business. The business depends on your leadership to remain open, operational and profitable. The buck stops with you.
If you are to achieve sustainable growth and deliver any degree of value, there is only one type of freedom for an entrepreneur and that is the freedom to explore more ideas, expand your business and eliminate the hurdles that stand in your way. Other than that, there is hardly any total freedom from work an entrepreneur enjoys. Entrepreneurs are always on call at all times for the business.
Time is a luxury that many entrepreneurs find by chance and make the most of before it’s spent and they are back to making crucial decisions, managing their team and executing strategies and activities to grow the business. The reality is quite different from the expectations, in this case.
What you expect from your entrepreneurial journey can be in stark contrast with the reality of that journey. It’s normally a little different than you expect.
The differences betweeen expectation and reality are not to be regarded in a bad light, though. They should be accepted as how things normally happen for entrepreneurs. You should not lose your sleep over them.
Instead, use these differences as your cue to prepare adequatly and develop the right mindset and work ethics necessary to succeed.