Building a business can be a very lonely place. The stresses, the responsibilities and the ever-increasing complexity, as that which you are building grows and expands, are a great challenge to overcome. There is no boss to blame, no excuses to be made about market conditions: the success and failure of the business rests entirely on the entrepreneur – he, who taketh all the risks. The risks are high, with more than two thirds of all business start-ups failing to make it. The reasons for this are plentiful.
For one, seeing an opportunity and then putting oneself in a position to take advantage of it can take a long time: a plan must have been established, financing put in place, companies formally set up, accounting and legal processes installed, bank lines to be opened, people hired and trained, and sales channels to be arranged. All of this is difficult enough, but then for all you know, when the time comes to finally execute, the opportunity might be long gone.
You could also encounter a force majeure, e.g. a tail risk event, a new technology or regulation that makes your business utterly obsolete. Other competitors might have seen the same opportunity you had and started their own businesses.
And it always takes longer than expected – every client wants to think about it one more time, people make promises they don’t keep, people lie, you can’t trust anyone and, all the while, you are burning through your money, scrounging about for every penny and putting out fires. It is in these moments that you cannot turn to anyone else, you cannot cry on someone else’s shoulder, because the minute you, the visionary, show any signs of weakness, or loss of hope, the game is over. All those who believed and trusted in you will know from that moment onwards, they are at risk. And when they start looking for other means to stay alive, the business is lost and all that remains, of even the best ideas, are the skeletons of a lost dream that may never come to pass.
Statistically, almost all successful entrepreneurs have experienced the pain of losing a business before they bring up the courage and energy to start again. It is to all of those people who are forever trying to make it work, who persevere, relentless in their pursuit, and who put it all at risk, that we dedicate this blog post to. You deserve all the rewards and the satisfaction, admiration and respect one commands when one has created something out of nothing.
The next generation should be eternally grateful.