Why patience is crucial to success in a business
In November 1941, at the height of World War 11, the leadership of the British premier Winston Churchill was tested to the fullest.
England was losing the battle and his Cabinet was urging him to make peace with Germany’s Adolf Hitler.
He adamantly refused and went ahead to give his famous wartime speech which ended with the words, “We will never surrender.”
When he was privately asked why he hung on even when everything that could go wrong was apparently going wrong and defeat looked certain, he responded; “Because I study history. And history tells you that if you hold on long enough, something always happens.”
True to his words, something actually happened.
A month later, on November 7 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour.
Two weeks later, Hitler committed another blunder.
He declared war on the US. The US swiftly and mightily joined the war on the side of England. The rest is history.
This story teachers us two key attributes that are critical to success in business and other aspects of our lives: Courage to hang on when everything seems against you and hope for a bright day.
Business couch and author Brian Tracy sums up this as ‘‘courageous patience".
This, he says, is “the ability to stay the course and not give up when you do not seem to make any progress, or when things are going against you.”
This happens so often with most business owners.
After launching a business or new product with hype and high hopes, things slow down.
There is no victory and no defeat. You just manage to break even. You pay bills and you are left with nothing.
You take a bank loan to boost stock and by the time you pay the last instalment, you find yourself applying for more because the stock level has gone back to the initial position.
Many business owners in this situation loose heart and give up or even worse do things half heartily.
They lose the zeal they had when they started business and leave everything to staff.
Some even go to the extent of not minding what happens as long as the managers of the business, whether a spouse, family member or employees, are able to pay all the bills and don’t ask anything from them.
This is business neglect which partially explains why so many enterprises stagnate.
It also contributes to the statistics of businesses that do not celebrate their anniversary.
The success of any enterprise depends on the leadership attributes of the leader.
It is the strength of the leader to navigate the venture though thick and thin that matters.
It is not the strength of the vital business resources, popularly known as capital.
Expounding on his famous theory of survival for the fittest Charles Darwin said, “Survival goes not necessarily to the strongest but to the species that is most adaptable to changing circumstances.”
This requires courage — courage to do things differently and to adapt to changing situations in the market with great zeal and inspiration.
At times it is tempting to leave a business that has apparently failed to grow and start another venture to boost income.
This hardly works at it divides the entrepreneur’s attention and saps the much needed energy to make things work better.
The best approach is to hang on as long as you are convinced the basics are right.
And surely, if you hang on long enough, something will happen.
Mr Kiunga is the author of Challenges of Starting a Business and The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market.