The Wise Entrepreneur

Why an Entrepreneur Must Never Despise Small Beginnings

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Today let’s have a little motivational write-up. I wonder whether you have ever met the type or class of entrepreneurs who are always and persistently apologetic about their small business or enterprise. Have you? Possibly you have. If you haven’t, one day you will. Not surprising at all because there are people who think big is good, and small is not good. Isn’t it? Yet in this very world there are people working day and night to make big things small.  Some people like humongous things; others like small things. It’s diversity – and there is no crime in being big or small. Of course big enterprises say a lot about success, but you can be a successful entrepreneur without owning a huge regional or global enterprise. Can’t you?

Andrew Griffiths once said, I quote, “Often small business owners are almost apologetic for being a small business. I think it is well and truly time to move on from this mindset and embrace the fact that small businesses are the engine of the business world; there are millions of them and they generally lead the way in all industries”. Now, are you an entrepreneur who fits into this category? In other words, when introducing your company you start with phrases like ‘we are a small………….etc’. Do you know that once you start this way you are indeed giving power to your larger competitors? Who told you anyway that everybody is looking for big businesses to transact with? Are you not short-changing yourself? Now, read on below!

  • First and foremost, all big businesses you see commanding the entire business world today started small, and your small today can become big tomorrow. Don’t you think so Mr. ‘Small’ Entrepreneur? Come on. Are you threatened to your bones by the sight and power of big enterprises? Do you still think right when faced with the might of a big competitor? Have you ever bothered to read the history of business giants you see today? If you have, you will appreciate that all start small, but can grow big. It’s simply about how you handle your business over the years. Not luck. I tend to agree with those who say the harder you work the luckier you become. I would only modify it a bit and say the harder and smarter you work the luckier you become!
  • Secondly, it is extremely useful for you to learn good lessons, make mistakes, and lose money etc. when you are small. In this way, you grow up into a well-rounded entrepreneur in future. Just imagine a situation where you plan to start big, on some idea you haven’t tested, and possibly organize millions of dollars in funding (from some investors who don’t look deep before investing), and then you simply screw up the whole thing and sink the millions of dollars. It could be outright naivety, lack of understanding of the business model, production, the market, managing people etc. I guess you have an idea about the reaction you will get when you lose millions of dollars (or whatever currency you like), compared to just some hundreds or thousands. Don’t you? Get me right. This is not to say that big enterprises don’t make mistakes or lose money. In fact some of them do it catastrophically – with big scars on society and the economy.
  • Thirdly, small but efficiently and effectively run enterprises create and deliver value just like the big ones. Yes – I hear you talk about economies of scale and big returns on investment. I appreciate those. Ever heard about the elephant and the flea approach? Have you ever asked yourself questions as to why the flea survives in this world just like the elephant? I’m not saying you should be a flea, but you can learn something here. Do you know that before the big business guys pass a decision around ten executives a small or medium enterprise will have closed and executed several deals? Do you know that many small (flea-like) and medium enterprises have extremely better return on investment compared to the business elephants? Do you know that you can create and deliver value efficiently and effectively despite your small size?
  • Fourthly, you can use the power of synergy to compete with the big companies. Synergy simply means that one plus one is greater than two. If you don’t believe this principle I suggest you go and read more! Then you can come back and we reason if you want. There are endless ways you can deploy the power of synergy to compete in the business world. I think I will write about business synergy at a later date.
  • Fifthly, small and medium sized enterprises lead the way in all industries and are the drivers of economic growth. In fact, big enterprises seriously depend on small and medium ones, and cannot survive without them. This might not sound pleasant but it’s the reality. Economic growth in many nations is also driven by the SME’s (small and medium enterprises). So Mr. ‘Small’ Entrepreneur, you indeed support the big guys directly and indirectly, so don’t let anybody make you feel small. You don’t need to be apologetic about your small business. You have got to walk tall with your head up. Do you get this?

In conclusion, if you chose to make yourself and your business pathetically small by your own words or approach, that is up to you. Isn’t it? My advice to you is that you stop despising small beginnings. Just be smart – and that small enterprise you have today will be making waves in ten years to come. Growth is only natural under the right environment. Don’t you think so Mr. Entrepreneur? Isn’t it amazing to see a child grow and develop over the years? Now, what about your enterprise? Never be apologetic for being a small business. Period!

Till then,

The Wise Entrepreneur

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Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka, a Ugandan chartered accountant and motivational speaker with 24 years of diverse experience, specializes in business administration, international consultancy, and lecturing. He advocates for personal empowerment through balanced living, qualitative leadership, and paradigm shifts, aiming to unlock individual potential globally.

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