By Theda Muller
There are so many key reasons why start-up businesses fail before they have even touched the ground. The perception of individuals dreaming about ‘being their own boss’, far outweighs the reality of owning a business.
It’s never as glamorous as it appears to be, trust me, most of the time it takes hard work and grit to survive and finally thrive!
So unless you have the most unique concept, tried and tested, in demand, with your research and statistics in hand as proof of the future success of your product and/or service, where you have invested in a mentor for at least 6 months prior, someone who has failed not just succeeded, who has reviewed your concept or project and has instilled the desired confidence needed to activate our new business to successfully complete the ‘start-up’ process without just depleting your financial resources, then stop yourself in your tracks right now, take a few steps backwards and think about:
1. What if my ‘Start-up’ plan does not at least service my new business for the first 1-2 years?
2. How can I start this new business without the relevant knowledge and experience?
3. Do I even have a mentor I can rely on for support?
4. What if I run out of money?
5. Do I have back-up resource options?
6. Will I be able to meet my operational costs for at least the first 1-2 years?
7. Do I even know all the key commercial factors of managing a business?
8. Is my business and marketing strategy the most effective?
9. Do I have any form of measurable for all these functionalities?
10. What if I am unable to pay my office rent after 6months?
11. Do I even need an office right now to start off with?
12. What if I am unable to pay my staff’s salaries?
13. How do I know I am under or over-staffed and perhaps wasting money I could have saved?
14. What if the entire business crashes financially after 6months? Do I have a fall-back plan?
15. If this happens who will support me?
There are so many questions because those who have never been in business before, who are currently standing on the sidelines within corporates viewing family, friends and associates who own businesses and thinking to make that transition from corporate to business who think that being in business is a breeze, are under a huge misconception.
Most times initially a ‘Start-up’ is a tough assignment, with unmatched commitment, disappointments, wrong decisions made, minimal income generated only able to cover the basic operational costs with the business owner standing last in the line, unable to compensate themselves with a salary to sustain their basic needs and that right there, is a hard pill to swallow.
When you generate an income in your new business and the feeling of money in your bank account makes you feel good, then it’s an exuberating emotional state, but 5 minutes later you as the owner must part with that money to meet your business obligations, then that feeling is not so good and this is a huge situation that many new business owners cannot handle.
It’s easy to sit in your corporate job right now with the knowledge that your salary will be credited to your account every single month, like clockwork. Take that salary away and tell me that you will be strong enough to emotionally handle this situation as it takes mastering, not just in a week or month, but years.
The real freedom comes when you don’t worry about money anymore, you simply meet your business obligations with the knowledge that you opened your hand with a clean heart, did the right thing, so the Law of Life dictates that you will be taken care of, but that kind of wisdom is only acquired and achieved after mastery of self.
Even if you are not in a corporate right now and you want to start a business, know that it is imperative to first seek highly experienced advice, this means that you must be prepared to invest in yourself especially if there is a degree of uncertainty from within, because an experienced mentor will guide you on the right path, whether that be to fully equip you with the most effective tools to activate your entrepreneur journey, or to advise you to first prepare yourself and then to take the plunge. They know best as the very best have been there many times and done that successfully, in the face of abysmal failure, they learn’t how to dust themselves off, start all over again and achieve the desired success!
I find that many individuals squirm when they are extended an invitation to evaluate an experienced mentor’s ability to fully mentor them, that they don’t really grasp the most significant importance of embracing mentorship as a willing and able protégé and learn from the best.
There is a very wise quote that encourages ‘Protégé’s to be willing and humble to sit at the feet of a mentor’, because those who are fortunate enough to find an excellent mentor, will surely reap the benefits from day one, as they would have avoided falling into the inevitable pitfalls of business failure.
Embracing mentorship means that you could have Dh1 million to invest in your business so you refuse to embrace mentorship and invest any form of monetary value into yourself to acquire new practical knowledge and experience, which means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and make the same mistakes others made.
So the mentor levies a fee of AED 100,000 for 6months of authentic mentorship including all forms of bonuses, which exceeds your total investment, just you don’t see the true value, so you decline the offer, because you expect that mentor not to levy a fee, forgetting the mentor invested in themselves which is why they are able to render the service to you today.
So you shoot off to activate your new business, splash out on a new office, over-staff your office with above average salaries, purchase unnecessary decorations and equipment and 6 months down the line you have AED 200,000 remaining of your initial investment and trust me, this is the most common cause of ‘Start-up’ failure; OR; you activate your business on a minimal budget with one receptionist/co-coordinator who is expected to generate leads, close sales and grow your business, just nothing realizes because firstly, not every new business can be successfully activated just with one staff and the owner employed elsewhere hoping for a miracle.
This kind of business will not succeed as the business operates at a very low level and hence never able to grow into a key competitor or market player. Business needs 100% to ensure absolute success, it’s not a part-timejob where many are under this misconception that it’s doable, when it’s absolutely not!
a. What now? How will you survive, cope and even make 8months?
b. You have no resource, no experienced mentor mind you can seek advice from…you closed your own doors and please do not approach friends or anyone else for advise at the beginning or now, especially people tend to ask for advice from people who have not been in business!
The solution could have been:
1. You sit at the feet of your mentor for 6months and learn everything you need to learn for your
new business and saturate yourself.
2. So you invest the AED 100,000 over the 6month period.
3. That means you still have AED 900,000 which you can invest and generate dividends for this mentorship period, again, the mentor could also tender advice here.
4. You complete your 6months mentorship and maybe you could have generated AED 50,000 in dividends over the 6month period, leaving you with AED 950,000.
So what have you lost? Absolutely zero, because you cannot equate 6months of authentic mentorship to the value of AED 50,000, which is the total investment after this period.
So what have you gained? Golden nuggets and you retained almost all of your initial investmentand now you can activate your new business with absolute confidence and peace of mind that you are not only fully equipped with knowledge, experience, resources and tools to serve you, but you also have your mentor in the shadows who will always be there to guide you.
This in itself you can never equate to the value of money so be wise, learn to master the art of first investing in yourself, it will remove years from your life.
Note: Theda Muller is a UAE-based visionary entrepreneur, CEO & Founder of various UAE companies, business advisor and legacy mentor, US trained and globally experienced. She is also an author of two books: Embrace Financial Freedom Volume One: 10 Proven Ways To Release Debt And Emotional Fears In Today’s Economy, and Volume Two: Releasing Fear And Bouncing Back From A Debt Crisis. She also conducts webinars and workshops on debt recovery.