As a writer and research on entrepreneurship, I know too well several of the great characteristics of an entrepreneur. These characteristics include risk taking, great determination, ability to wear different hats, stamina and great staying power. The list goes own. These characteristics can also be the undoing of some entrepreneurs. Statistics show that more than 50% of start-up businesses vanish within 5 years. That is a lot of dreams put into shreds, never mind the personal agony and sleepless nights all gone to waste.
The sad part of this great tragedy is that in some instances, many of these businesses could have been rescued, if only the owners had sought for advice in good time. The risk taking, the determination and the singular belief in a project which are all the hallmarks of good entrepreneurs can also be the same factors that can bring down the organisation and with it the dreams of many people.
I have worked with many turnaround experts and currently we are working on a few projects where companies are being sold off in scraps. These companies are then being turned around, rejuvenated and then sold for many times the original price. Peter Jones, the entrepreneur managed to buy Jessops for a fraction of its costs. Many business failures have nothing to do with mismanagement, sometimes its due to competition (Blackberry), others due to technology such as the internet, change in the law can also affect some sectors ( smoking ban in public places affected many night clubs in the UK).
The changes mentioned above can affect many companies and the inability to change can lead to disaster. IBM moved from the PC (Personal Computer) industry and survive to lead the technology outsourcing sector, if it didn’t, it would have been condemned to the history books. Small companies must not plan to play small, they must aim high and continuously adapt and never rest on their achievements. Challenge your advisers and have the winning mentality of the champions.
Sometimes real life imitates sports. There have been several instances of people losing games they otherwise should have won easily. Remember the 3-0 unbeatable result of Barcelona FC in the semi final of the Football Champions league? Never rest even when you are doing great.
Like the eagle, be ready to play the long game.