The Oxford English Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as, "a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit."
Who comes to mind? Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg or Alan Sugar? Maybe Bill Gates or James Dyson?
If we were talking about entrepreneurs in TT who would we select? Maybe Derek Chin, or Mario Sabga Aboud?
There are countless individuals who call themselves entrepreneurs in TT, but to call yourself one and to act like one are two completely different positions.
One of the main abilities of any successful entrepreneur is their ability to spot opportunities and build on them.
Not everyone who starts a business succeeds. Building a business takes more than just the ability to endure risk, however, that ability to spot opportunities makes entrepreneurs the eagle eye scouts of innovation.
In a 1959 speech, John F Kennedy famously said: “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters – one represents danger and one represents opportunity.” Although today it is widely recognised that this is not the correct interpretation of the Chinese characters, President Kennedy’s wisdom about a crisis yielding unique opportunities may be more important than ever.
A look back in history quickly reveals numerous ways that crises have offered unexpected benefits for societies, countries, and humanity and since hindsight is always 20-20 I am certain that when we are able to look back on the covid19 pandemic we will be able to see the unexpected benefits that surfaced during this time.
Many of our favourite places to shop have been threatened during this time. Deeply affected are those in the hospitality industry especially restaurants and bars. Many businesses are closing out, some filing for bankruptcy others frozen in fear, too scared to raise their heads up to look. Many shops have been closing in the malls. Loans are outstanding and rents are due. There has been no real help in sight and the future looks very bleak.
There are three words I need you to ponder: endurance, crisis and opportunity.
Without the strength to endure the crisis, unfortunately many entrepreneurs will not see the opportunities within.
It is only through the process of endurance that opportunity reveals itself.
There is always opportunity in any crisis situation but when we lose heart in a devastating crisis like the one we are experiencing now, we are blindsided by our own emotions.
This is a wonderful opportunity for us to test our endurance. Without the ability to endure emotional turmoil and the chaos that comes with change, there is no hope for reconstruction.
I am not suggesting that endurance is an easy task. However, it is essential in overcoming this crisis.
Self-belief and risk-taking lie at the core of every entrepreneur, and the emotions we suffer when things don’t go to plan can be easily overlooked.
Here’s the rub: how we interpret our liabilities determines how those liabilities are going to affect us. As bestselling author Ching Ning Chu said, “You cannot turn liabilities into assets unless you are able to endure the despondent, dark periods.”
What makes an entrepreneur great? Is it his ability to slay dragons while risking his own life? Pre covid19, there were many climbing the ladders of an economy, sword in hand, swashbuckling their way to ultimate Nirvana.
What makes an entrepreneur great is the ability to know how to suffer the insufferable and endure the unendurable.
Through trials and tribulations, one endures by enduring.
This seemingly negative situation that has shown up as the covid19 pandemic will no doubt contain essential elements for us to fulfil our intended destiny. However, unless we possess the power of endurance to live through this dark night, we will not see the glory of daybreak.
Everyone knows how to thrive in the good times. It is the trying times that separate the one who has substance from the one who merely possesses the image.
This is a call for the real entrepreneurs to stand up! Don’t be discouraged. Turn a deaf ear to bellyaching and complaining. Allow yourself to be inactive for a bit as you gather and nurture your inner strength. And by doing so, without anxiety and with a detached spirit, you will be able to focus yourself and create a force of powerful momentum and unshakable clarity. You will see the opportunity in this pandemic and you will prevail!
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