Whenever I speak with entrepreneurs, one recurrent theme is the toughest business decisions they had to make. This actually comes as no surprise because life itself is generally about the decisions we make. For an entrepreneur taking the wrong decision could mean the collapse or end of a business. It could be refusing to sign a deal or attend a conference only for your business or even the reverse. There’s a lot of pressure involved. But the truth remains that sometimes, the best opportunities are disguised as the toughest decisions for an entrepreneur.
We’ve picked some of the toughest decisions you’ll have to prepare your mind for as an entrepreneur.
Whether to Quit
Several times I’ve heard entrepreneurs talk about how their time in the market played out a lot different from the projections they’ve made on paper. It’s either the business has generated far less revenue than was expected, or it has sunk its capital.
Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola talks about one of the toughest decisions in his entrepreneurial career. Otedola was at the top of his game with 95% of Nigeria’s diesel market at his fingertips. But in 2008, the diesel price suddenly fell from $146 to $34. This was followed by a myriad of accruing interests and the stock crash. Otedola lost over $480 million.
“I had two options, either to commit suicide or to weather the storm. I decided to weather the storm. I just knew it was a phase I had to go through. You see God prepares you for greater things and of course, experience is the best teacher so I had to learn my lessons. I took the bitter pill,” he says.
The result of his decision is clear today. Otedola is one of Africa’s richest men with a net worth of over $1 billion.
To Seek External Funding or Not
So you’ve validated your business idea and you’re set to launch into the market. The next big decision could be, ‘do I lend money or simply rely on my savings’. While it’s a normal practice to seek seed funding or a business loan in the early stages of a business, you might want to ascertain if your personal saving is all funding you need.
We’ve heard stories of investors with selfish agenda that doesn’t favour the vision for a business. You need to handle this crucial decision with the utmost care. Otherwise, you could come to the realisation some years down the line, that you sold out your business even before it started.
In the latest edition of Business Elites Africa 40 Under 40, Evans Akanno, founder of Cregital, talks about how he bootstrapped his now thriving startup with about N600,000.
This is not to say you have to bootstrap your business, but if you’ve done your research and find that using your personal funds is the best way to go, try as much as you can to save your required startup capital and launch your business.