In my previous post, I shared on the realities of the dark side of entrepreneurship – the underreported challenges that entrepreneurs often face daily in their journey. In this post I offer some practical tips for coping with those challenges to ensure that your entrepreneurship journey is not derailed.

  • Prepare mentally for the tough days ahead

Success is possible but it won’t come cheaply. Be aware of and prepare your mind to encounter difficulties. Condition your mind early about the rough road ahead. Think big but be realistic. Make pragmatism your watchword. As they say, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

There are reasons why 80% of startups fail within 2 years and no it wasn’t because the people involved were not hopeful like you are now. Understand that starting a business is like performing an experiment with very high chances of failure. It may or may not work. Life offers no absolute guarantees. Even large well-established companies do launch new lines of businesses and products that fail. Coca Cola Company’s launch of “New Coke” in 1985 was a catastrophic failure.  Microsoft’s attempt to compete with the iPod with the launch of Microsoft Zune in 2006 failed. Google’s launch of Google Glass in 2013 ended in failure.

  • Build a support system

I once heard Kunle Soriyan, an Executive Coach say; “When the going gets tough, the tough collaborates.” The world of entrepreneurship can be lonely at times. It will be to your advantage to have a network of individuals you can reach out to from time to time at critical moments when you are at crossroads – dealing with a crisis, many of which often emerge unexpectedly. This is one reason I will always be grateful to my own support network who I always ran to whenever the ride hits a bump in the business journey. My mentor Dr Sola Adesola of Oxford Brookes University and my dear friends and partners Seun Adewuyi, Sola Adebayo, Ayoola Falola CEO ComeRiver , Tobi Oludayomi CEO Studio 14 and of course my dear wife Sade and several other partners have been very supportive. A 30–60-minute phone call with any of them was enough to save me from a mental meltdown, not kidding.

You will need people you can talk to about your emotional and business problems. The idea that you can succeed in isolation is a dangerous illusion.  You need friends to lean on and even crack jokes with about the serious issues to cool down the steam. You need mentors to guide you because they have walked the journey before. You equally need professionals – accountant, solicitor, auditor, software engineer and other experts depending on your industry.

  • Don’t neglect your health

I used to think I was a hard worker until I ventured into entrepreneurship. At that time I had entered another dimension of hard work I never knew existed. In all of this hard work there is a high tendency for you and I as entrepreneurs to overwork to the point of breaking down. Work hard yes but don’t overwork. Rest. Take a break. Go on vacation with your loved ones. Have regular medical check-ups. Make time to exercise and learn to relax and enjoy recreation. Your body and soul will thank you for it.

  • Plan with scenario analysis 

It is not enough to mentally anticipate challenges, it is also important to prepare well for them.  The way to do is to plan with what I call scenario analysis. In your planning, draw up different scenarios that may emerge and outline possible actions you will take in response to each scenario. This entails having multiple backup or alternate plans. Ask critical questions and find answers to them ahead of time.

Ask yourself questions like: “What will I do if this particular plan doesn’t work? What is my plan B? Were plan B to fail, what is my plan C, plan D and even plan E? How will I raise fund if my business loan application was turned down? What do I do if this new product fails to gain traction? How will my business cope if a key employee or partner walked away or if the business web-application came under cyberattack? Planning is a critical exercise that you undertake before embarking on the business and continuously after starting out. In a nutshell you plan without ceasing.

My name is Ayo Adebamowo. Author, Speaker and Techpreneur. I’m here to walk your success journey with you. Subscribe to my newsletter for regular nuggets or check out other empowering articles on my blog to help in that journey. My latest book is Accelerate, a primer on personal and professional development.

Written by : Ayo Adebamowo

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