How have I managed to keep the business going since 2015?
Entrepreneurship is a marathon race. It is even longer than running a marathon. At least while you are running a marathon, you know when it will be over. (Un)fortunately, you do not know when the race will be over if you are an entrepreneur. So I have good and bad news for you.
The good news is that the entrepreneurship race will not be over and the bad news is that it will not be over :) It will go forever. It will be still alive even after you die. So that completely depends on you how you want to perceive it.
After 5 years of running my own company/team; I still do not know if this is good news or bad news. That is normal. I am not a machine. I am not a robot. And life is hard. Life as an entrepreneur is even harder. So get used to it. Every day is another struggle.
And this reminds me of the lyrics of the song ’Everyday Struggle’ by Notorious Big.
I’m living every day like a hustle. Another drug to juggle, another day, another struggle.
The habit that you need to develop; every morning is a new life and a new day. You have to go further. Even the day before was your worst day, in the new day you have to dare to go further. Otherwise, you will stay where you are. And staying at the same place, doing the same tasks over and over again is a killing beast. Back in 2012, these were the main reasons why I wanted to start my own entrepreneurship adventure:
1- To do different tasks/projects every day and to learn new things;
2- To choose the people whom I want to work with;
That is why I have developed my business model in the way that;
1- I will not focus on only a specific industry or segment. My core business shall be adjustable for any industry.
2- I will not focus on only one specific country or market.
3- I will not hire anyone with experience, I will provide the platform and opportunities for people to develop themselves and let them make mistakes. If you don’t make any mistakes, it means that you are not learning anything new. I enjoy my trainees starting with nothing and in 2-3 years specialising in what they want to do.
My three main principles of running my own business still goes on. I still keep these principles in my mind and eventually, I have started developing more business around the same principles. Such as; I am still hiring trainees and training them on how to be a ‘Business Development Manager’. I am still expanding into new countries such as Spanish and Russian speaking countries currently. I am showing more interest in potential companies from different industries. For example; we already have clients from the logistics & transportation industry, we already developed huge know-how around it. I would take another client from this industry only if it is worthy.
And mistakes; Yes I did a lot of mistakes and my team and my clients did as well. I proposed lower prices than our value,I had higher expectations on my team based on their experience level. I showed too much mercy as a manager. I did not push too hard for the team members to finalise their tasks, I did not call the clients on time to pay my invoices, I had difficulties to choose which projects to be focused, I was late in setting up our cloud project management platform (www.yedesk.com) It took me 1 year to learn how to manage my cash flow and many many more.
Experience is what you learn from your mistakes. Working in an environment where making mistakes are welcome is the right place to be.
Since the first day, I have never felt that I am tired because of work. When I had a bad day, it happened because I did it that way. Accusing someone else was never my escape mentality. The song from Frank Sinatra ‘That is life’ is my motivation in the bad days because I know that they will be over.
You’re riding high in April, shot down in May. But I know I’m gonna change that tune. When I’m back on top, back on top in June. I just pick myself up and get back in the race.
What I have learned so far?
1- Change: Over the years, everything changed; our team members, logo, website 3 times, slogan, proposals, pricing strategy, client contracts, income models and many other small & big strategies,
In 2020; you have to be flexible. You have to be a zodiac boat on the sea, not a ship.
2- Trustworthy: Whatever you do in the end; the cash in your bank account matters most in order to maintain your business running and to pay the salaries of your team on time. I have never faced one single month where I could not pay the salaries & taxes on time. I did my best to keep my promises and I was very careful in what I was promising to my team. I paid special attention not to have a big mouth and not to promise them what I can not do. And the same principle applies to the clients. I promised the services which we could do. I am an honest entrepreneur and I am expecting my clients, sub-contractors, and team to be honest to me.
Our clients trust us because they know that we do our best.
3-Opportunity: In business, you should have the skill of smelling where the money goes. You need to catch the trends, follow the companies and test the future business models. If you can catch the flying opportunities and bring them in your business, then you are an ‘Opportunity Catcher’ In order to catch the opportunities; you need to have a strong professional network, you need to be everywhere, you need to be reputable and you should be in the corners of your business where the leads will reach you.
Tomorrow, I and my team will dare to go further, we will start with new clients and projects, finalise new tasks, learn new points and obviously make more mistakes which will make us more experienced. Whatever happens, we will have fun and go back home with a smile on our faces.
I am looking forward to our 10th-year celebration.
Dare to go further!