I spent the past two days program directing a two day workshop of some of the country’s top 40 entrepreneurs with a turnover of between R2 million and R30 million from different industries.
There are a couple of common things about entrepreneurs:
- They are rebels, they don’t accept the norm, they refuse to do the traditional 8 – 5 corporate job and they are unapologetic about it;
- They are hard workers, they are very aware that they work harder than when they were in corporate. I don’t have the data on this but I believe that people who work for startups work very hard, much harder than people who work for corporates;
- Some of them have never worked for a corporate before and they are proud of it;
- They have similar challenges: cash flow, access to more markets, labour related issues, they know that a staff taking them to CCMA for a labour dispute is normal business operation, they are no longer fazed about it;
- They are practical, they want practical things, much as they are ambitions and have dreams and visions, they are also very practical and realistic
There are more and more other fascinating things I remembered in this room that made feel passionate to be an entrepreneur, but one thing that is common among them all is a trait that we often don’t talk about: They are patient.
For most of them, it took them 10 years for their businesses to be a success. On average it took them 10 years. This reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule in Outliers.
Often when we talk about the 10,000 rule, we talk about the discipline of deliberate practice it takes to be great, but you need to be very patient to practice something for 10 years before you get better.
People today are not patient, we want instant gratification. We want microwaved and instant success. Relationships are microwaved, I meet you today and we are in a deal tomorrow.
Great things take time, sacrifices, investing resources, total commitment and discipline. It takes time to make a business work, it takes time to make a relationship work.
Patience to wave through the storms, to go through the mundane, the boring stuff, the routine. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. It is not job, or a position, it is an attitude, attitude about life, patience, failure, success.
We look for instant gratification in everything we do. The things we post online, the careers we choose, and the people we get close to.
We want great things, without investing the time, resources and sacrifices required. We want the greatness that Malcolm Gladwell is talks about without putting in the 10,000 hours. Basically we want microwaved success.
There are no shortcuts to anything great worth doing. It takes about nine years to get an overnight success.
Warren Buffet puts it this way “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
Here is the shortcut that is sure to work, every time:
- Take the long;
- Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency;
- And then you won’t waste time doing over.
If you don’t have time to do right the first time, to build a solid foundation the first time, what makes you think you will have time to do it over it again.
Take time to build solidly. Have patience, all things are difficult before they are easy. Have patience with all things, but first of all have patience with yourself. Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
My lesson of the week:
Some things take time, building a business is one of them. Don’t rush things that need time to grow. Great things take time.
How we handle our journey will determine our destination. You either wait, or settle for less.
Slowly brewed, extra matured.