Never Frown on the Small Business

A new business startup can be a hairy and hoary proposition. There are many indicators to consider, and there are countless variables that can jeopardize any creative attempts. You may have heard about painful and disappointing closures of businesses that began with an optimistic premise. Animated conversations revolved about supporting a cause, a purpose – altruism and philanthropy as part of the company’s philosophy for business – however faded into obscurity and oblivion. The market seems intolerant of fly-by-night operations, and businesses that are built around hyperbole and multi-tiered promise of wealth and prosperity but require your 16-digit credit card number to proceed with your training kit.

Statistically, more than 90 percent of small businesses do not make it through the first year. It gets progressively harder to stay afloat in the subsequent, unless the new business-owner integrates strategic thinking, partnerships and alliances. Partnerships entrenched in shared assets and capital, invariably, end on a sour note with conflict over financial states and approach to business. Business built on a premise of failed promise, false evidence, falsified research, and a quagmire of confusion lead many down the path of the dismayed and disillusioned. Employment seems like a better choice than being your own boss.

Here are some considerations on how Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can rejuvenate and re-energise industries in an ailing economy. SMEs can still act local, and think global. As I bantered with a friend today, if you were to scale up your retail business would you build another branch, or increase your existing floor space? Each is a different decision with different outcomes and challenges.

Having said these, the SME is a testing ground of wits, creativity, courage, and true grit. When you are self-employed, and even employ others, your mindset takes an enormous shift towards the future, possibilities, relevance, and connectivity. Every ounce of skill, iota of experience, dollop of influence, and bushel of potential in the fibres of your body will be called into action.

Even when things don’t go your way, there should not be any shame. It takes a lot to marry the conditions of book-smart with street-smart. You learn to turn a win-lose situation into a win-learn situation. Leaders from adversity sprout!

Reading Resource: Guy Kawasaki, The Art of the Start.


A former, international executive in a multinational corporation I now lead and manage my international leadership and consulting firm. I deliver a daily blog on leadership where I share the best practices of effective leaders from various industries, and professions ('Leadership Lessons from Triathlons'). I model the success strategies of these industry and business leaders and present them for education and reflection. As a motivational leader and leadership consultant, I focus on values-based...

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