“Entrepreneurs have a mind-set that sees possibilities rather than the problems created by change”.
– J. Gregory Dees
“Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” One of many inspirational quotes by John C. Maxwell. We live in an ever changing world, one that requires us to adapt and keep up with its pace or we’ll be left behind. To give an idea of the extent of how the world has changed in recent years, here are some examples:
- The first text was sent in 1992. Today, the number of texts sent and received daily exceed the population of the planet.
- Today’s 21 year would have watched 20,000 hours of TV and played 10,000 hours of video games.
- Decades ago, the internet was a myth. Today the number of websites exceeds 200 million and is now used as one of the most powerful business marketing tools.
Now imagine how much has changed and how much will continue to change in the next ten years. The future is limitless and unimaginable. With change comes a lot of uncertainty, and people fear uncertainty. The idea that the future is unknown and the already established safe routine will be up-balanced, is scary. This is the same for an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business taking on a financial risk in the hope of profit.
The way an entrepreneur reacts to change can be the defining moment in the individual business. The concept of change produces negative reaction from (most) people, this is because of the high uncertainty associated with change. This is however understandable as in most cases, it takes years to progress to a certain level of status and comfort. With the level attained, it might sound a bit scary or crazy to diverge into a new environment. Entrepreneurs see the big picture and not just a piece of the puzzle, they are also willing to forfeit the consistency and comfort they have grown over the years. They know the price it takes to make a big step in their business.
An example of an entrepreneur who has excelled and forged ahead in times of change is my mother. She is a business woman who works mainly in the fashion industry, she travels to Italy and Switzerland to buy certain high quality goods and sells them in Nigeria. She had been doing this for more than 5 years and her business was doing okay but she wanted to leap into new and better levels in her business. Change was needed. She thereby came up with a business strategy, this strategy was carefully envisaged and a plan was thought of to move the business to the next level. Her first plan was to change her location, one of the biggest changes an individual can encounter. She decided to change her base from Kaduna (a state located in the northern part of Nigeria and also where I grew up as a child) to Abuja (the federal capital territory of Nigeria and also where the family stays now). By doing this, she encountered a number of customers who had a little bit more financial flexibility and were willing to spend big. Her next plan was to extend her contacts abroad and grow her network. She decided to extend her travel destinations to Asia and other European countries, by doing this she had access to different types of goods that appeal to the upcoming generation of stylists in Nigeria.
At first this change wasn’t easy at all; the change in environment and also the financial risk involved, were really overwhelming for everyone. But she had persistence and the belief that her calculated risks would pay off sooner rather than later, and that it would work out in the end. For the first few months, growth was stagnant and few eyebrows were raised about if it was actually worth it. But then she had a breakthrough; business was booming, she finally began to see the profits rolling in and people started to recognize her shop as the destination for quality goods and materials. She has a large customer base in one of Africa’s fastest growing cities and a business that is thriving in spite of the hard economic times occurring all around. This would not have been possible if not for change.
I once heard that the fear of change is the enemy of success. I see a lot of truth in this statement because if there is no change, one remains stagnant and change is needed for growth in all aspects of life. Of course change doesn’t always lead to positive results but that’s where an entrepreneur comes in. An entrepreneur knows the risks involved with change unlike a normal individual who just acts without much thinking. An entrepreneur sees the positive aspects involved with change and chooses to ignore or fight the negative aspects that can result from change. Entrepreneurs have a lot of wisdom and tricks up their sleeves, learnt from experiences in work and interaction with different people. An entrepreneur sees that the more receptive you are to change, the more creative solutions would be thought of. An entrepreneur is less likely to be held back by boundaries but has a spirit of exploration and self-determination. If an entrepreneur sees an opportunity, he or she is likely to try out all means to exploit that opportunity. In the mind of an entrepreneur no opportunity must go to waste as the best chances only come once in a while.
I think entrepreneurship should not only be a characteristic of an entrepreneur but also one for a normal individual. I believe that there is a spirit of entrepreneurship inside all of us, that is just waiting to be unleashed. Imagine the benefits a teacher, student or an engineer would experience if he were more entrepreneurial. We have a lot to learn from entrepreneurs, skills and tricks that we could use in our everyday lives and inevitably accepting that the presence of change doesn’t change and must just be accepted for growth to take place.
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