By the time we see a fully-grown tree or a crop that can be harvested, there is a lot of work that has been done. Some of the work is obvious such as weeding, sowing, watering, etc. Yet some of it is not so obvious such as mixing the right ratios of fertilizers, or the growing of the roots etc. The life of an employee turned entrepreneur is pretty much the same. Herein we share some truths which relate us to the farm.
Of wheat and tares
In any field, a farmer will confirm that once the seed is sown, in its germination, there is an accompanying unwanted growth of weeds. The weeds compete for the available resources of water, air, and nutrients yet they are not what was planted neither will they be beneficial to the farmer. As employees, people have a lot of “things” that keep them busy even though they do not necessarily add value and might even end up depleting the resources available such as time, effort and money. Budding into entrepreneurship, one will quickly realize the importance of putting first things first and discarding what is not necessary to achieve the goal set. Tares are known to wither out the wheat which would be useful to the farmer. There must be a conscious effort to fight the things that interrupt you or seem to occupy your time and yet they are not of any benefit. Left unchecked, the unimportant, unnecessary & wasteful will impact on your end product negatively because of divided attention, time and other important inputs.
The 30-60-90 productivity
Ever wondered why and how two businesses of the same nature, client base, target market product/ service offering, and price will end up with a large variation in their business key performance indicators such as employee engagement, revenue, and net profits? There is a multiplicity principle known as the 30-60-90 principle. Your level of output is determined not by the input but by the quality of the host. Entrepreneurial ideas hosted by the mentality of an employee will yield lesser fruit than the same ideas hosted within the mind of one who has an entrepreneurial mentality. An idea, no matter how it comes to the business person, has the capability of being hosted, processed and implemented to different levels of impact and success. This principle lends accurate credence to the famous cliché “milking it for all its worth and more”.
Two major things happen when a seed is sown to the ground intentionally or not. One is that the seed as it is known dies completely to regenerate as a plant that can produce fruits similar to where it was sourced from. Two, the new plant develops roots to help it hold firm and have structures for taking in the nutrients. In the modern era of business, and publicity of high flying lifestyles, it is very easy to develop a pressure for visibility of what one is doing. That visibility is not possible when one is establishing a business and unfortunately, one thing about employee turned entrepreneur is that the people who respected you while an employee will avoid you highly once you start your business. They will only return once you are successful. Make the best of the moments that you are establishing root because that is the area that will hold when the business is building. Being buried at the startup does not mean you are dead. It just might mean that you are experiencing a rebirth.
Sowing – reaping – eating
There is a season for everything. A time to plant, a time to reap the harvest, a time to eat. At harvest time, one does not know which part of the yield should be stored for sowing again and which should be eaten. Many budding entrepreneurs have gone out, worked hard and landed a very lucrative deal. Once the deal is completed and paid, they think they have landed on the serious monies that they have always dreamed off and they go spending everything without thinking about the future. Entrepreneurship is not a one-time thing. It is a lifestyle that has seasons and times that require different elements of commitment. Some require us to be working smart, some require us to sit and wait and some require us to sacrifice. Budding entrepreneurs need to realize that each business has its own cycle and not all can be characterized by expensive cars and cocktails!
A good vineyard is one whose fruit can always be counted on for quality. A good vineyard is not one left to its own means. It is one that is cultivated, tendered and protected. Budding entrepreneurs must be ready for the overalls, thorns, and hands-on demands by the enterprises they set up. It’s easier when your money is working for you e.g. if you put it in mutual funds or a fixed deposit account, but it is more rewarding when the fruit has multiplied your money. Pruning (cutting off the unproductive branches), watering, leveling etc. are all practices that are time-consuming and painful for a farmer to do, yet they are the ones that guarantee a good vineyard produce. While employment will shield one from all these, entrepreneurship does not
In doing business, one of the best consoling messages ever given is that “you will do it again”. Everyone with a business will confess to some false starts on either the business itself or on some undertaken projects. One should not be discouraged on failure or when something fails to pick up as expected. It might not be the right time for the starting and there is hope for a restart again. When boreholes and wells are dug in the savannah by the nomads, it is possible for them to move but in the next season of grazing, they come back to the very wells they had dug. The extra work might be removing the sand that filled the wells in their absence, but the water is hidden beneath. If they dig new wells, the worth of the old wells is downplayed and they don’t get the precious liquid therein. Don’t give up on wells of gold that you left behind there before. Revisit them when the time is right, and they will give you the yield you need.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t give up on wells of gold that you left behind there before. Revisit them when the time is right, and they will give you the yield you need” username=”@wangarimaina”]
Of bricks & straw
Isn’t it amazing that the main construction materials for many of the Egyptian structures in the BC age were bricks and straw? Some of those structures still stand today in the 21st century. With the background that the sourcing of the two was not easy and was done by slaves, budding entrepreneurs need to know that at the initial stages of a business, brick and straw is their responsibility and it cannot be delegated to anyone. One must be ready to sacrifice sleep, lunch and a lot more to build lasting structures upon which a successful business stands.
Slaves were like the right hand of their masters and at its formative stages, your business needs you to do everything. Employment shields people from a lot because there is a division and separation of roles in an organization. You don’t have that luxury in your startup. You will be the messenger, the cashier, the accountant, the sales executive, the receptionist and everything else in between to the highest level of chairman of the board for your company.
The ant, the badger, the locust, and the spider
Ants have no reasoning capacity like human beings, yet they work to provide for themselves in and out of season. They know when winter is coming and they prepare adequately by collecting food and stocking it for that time. The badger/ hyrax knows it is weak but it also knows where it can find refuge from its enemies. They hide in the rocks on mountains where their predators cannot get to them unless under extreme circumstances. They also camouflage among the rocks.
The locusts/grasshoppers have no king, captain, leader, ruler, yet they work with the discipline of an army. One grasshopper/ locust is harmless and can be caught and stored in a jar; but not an army of them. As a swarm what they cannot do individually, they accomplish together when they join forces even without a leader and they don’t need one.
The Spider is one insect that will never lack even in a palace, let alone a 6-star hotel! Whether they crawl up a wall, climb stairs, attach themselves to laundry hung outside, pushed by a heavy gust of wind – it doesn’t matter, they will somehow find themselves in places where they are least expected.
As David H. Boshart, Jr. says, “Foresight and planning, safe building, teamwork, excellence, and faith are valuable traits.”
The field of a sluggard
Sluggard/ slothful implies laziness and the character of inactivity, idleness and more softly work-shy. The image presented to the world is that the world of entrepreneurship allows people a lot of time to do what they want at their own time and flexibility is built into the day because people wake up at any time they want, etc.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If budding entrepreneurs are not disciplined with time as employees in organizations are, it is very possible for their businesses to collapse because the required attention is not given. In fact, there is a truth in the statement – a little sleep, a little slumber, and poverty will come on you like an armed robber. The best extrapolation for this element of work whether an employee or entrepreneur is in a book, The Traveler & The Bandit written by David Paul Mavia and published by The Kairos (2011).
Opportunities, Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding and Time are the best friends of any budding entrepreneur preventing him/ her from walking the path of failed business.
A story is told of a rich farmer who had a good planting and harvesting season. At harvest time he figured that his produce was so great that he had to demolish his existing structures of granaries to build new, bigger and better to store the yield for ages without him going hungry. That night he passed on and never got to enjoy the yield for even one day or even do an opening ceremony for his large storehouses.
Both employment and entrepreneurship do not provide a guarantee for tomorrow. There is never a right time for life decisions, there is never a tomorrow, all that we have is today and we need to make the best of it. As an employee looking forward to doing business one day and you know you can hack it, do you want to save like 10 million so that you will not have to borrow capital when you start your business? As an entrepreneur, are you keeping your idea within the notebooks waiting for a perfect venture capitalist? Life happens to both the entrepreneur and employee. You need the wisdom to do it right and do not postpone until tomorrow what you need to do today.
[bctt tweet=”The badger is wise enough to know that his strength lies not in what he can do, but what the mountain’s shelter can do for him – DAVID H. BOSHART, JR.” via=”no”]
For more insights on this subject matter we recommend the book “Lessons from The Field Simple Lessons on Success, Leadership and Living a Balanced Life” by John L Brekke & David L Brekke