The other day, I was coaching a young ambitious banker. He wanted to do something more, but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. As we were discussing, it dawned upon me… that he couldn’t handle the uncertainty of an entrepreneurial environment. He needed to be told what to do, and have answers. I told him to quit questioning, and start doing… (we’ll see how that goes).
And that’s how life is for an entrepreneur, they embrace the uncertainty. It’s part of the entrepreneurial DNA – the ability to move forward, not sure about how things will turn out. Pretty much like swinging without a safety net, or flying without a parachute.
Guided by just a vision, an idea and courage to take a step forward, not knowing if they’re going to step off the edge of a cliff or going to fly on the hopes and dreams… it’s just become a part of them, living on the edge, on a rollercoaster with no guarantee of what will happen.
So what’s the use of knowing all this, what’s the next step? What can you do about it… well, there’s plenty. To start with…
- Identify the source of risk, and the cause for uncertainty. When you start a business, there are plenty of risks, there’s uncertainty in the market as it develops each year, advancements in technology, disruptive competitors springing up and even within the organization in terms of leadership and management. And if you’re low on funding, there’s financial uncertainty as well. Get the facts straight, for the truth will set you free.
- Start on something small, focus on your first quick win. Then take on the giants. Jeff Bezos wanted Amazon to sell anything and everything. But he started with books and progressed from there. Focus on what matters as your next step.
- Have a bias for action. One of the common observations I’ve made is that as you take action, even small steps – the level of uncertainty reduces. Because by testing and failing fast, you know what works and what doesn’t. Be Bold. Take Action. Build Momentum.
- Don’t travel alone. You don’t have time on your side – so learn from the mistakes of others, or stand on their shoulders – you really don’t need to reinvent the wheel. They’ve trodden the path before you, you might as well find a smoother path to travel on, than blaze a trail.
Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.
Entrepreneurship is a journey, be thankful and own your dream! If all else fails, pray.