Entrepreneurship: Hope vs. Hype

A recent study by Bloomberg shows that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. In other studies, this number increases to 95% in the first 5 years.  This is shocking, given the fact that everyone is talking about successful entrepreneurs, and with newspapers and magazines bolstering their entrepreneur of the week, month or year. In most instances, you have to pay for these things, up to $20k to be on the cover… Sign me up!

We have created so much hype about being an entrepreneur that you start seeing these so called entrepreneurs lecturing, and telling young graduates about their ‘so called’ experience – the ‘I did it, so can you!’ cliché pep talk. And young people get excited, and want to start something to become the next superstar. To be on the cover of magazines or have 100k followers on Twitter, on Instagram. These, apparently, are the KPIs of success in entrepreneurship these days.

Here is the truth, Entrepreneurship is important for the economy. It creates new Small businesses that provide jobs and opportunities for people, some of them even make it to the big leagues and become large corporations to employ thousands of people and make billions of dollars. However, in most cases, getting there is about focus, hard work, commitment, humility and hope.

Forget about the hype and focus on the hope.

A few things to consider when opening up a business:

Humility; start small, no need for a fancy office or 20 workers to show that you actually have a business. A small place and a handful of key people will probably provide you with a more stable platform.

Planning; understand your market, your clients, what you want to offer and how to sell your products or services. In most cases, your idea won’t be unique, but it can be different if you find a gap and build something to fit it.

Financials; you don’t need to be a guru in finance or accounting, but you do need to govern your spending. You’ll need to know how you will make money and, more importantly, manage your cash flow. If you really can’t do it, get someone who can.

Attitude; it’s hard out there, you will face many obstacles and will probably fall at the first hurdle. Don’t worry, take it as an experience, re-strategize and try again.

Entrepreneurship is about innovation, but it is also about resilience and perseverance. So be prepared, read and learn, ask those with experience in managing developed successful businesses and try to ignore the hype!


Tariq Linjawi