Small Enterprise

Set realistic targets to avoid depression in your business

Don’t compare yourself with other entrepreneurs or even your colleagues who might be thriving in their careers. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Don’t compare yourself with other entrepreneurs or even your colleagues who might be thriving in their careers. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

When Peter quit employment to start a business, everything seemed very well. Instantly, he became a hero to his colleagues and friends who confessed their desire to own a business and become their own boss.

He was a darling to his family and friends. Salespeople and merchandisers from various companies ranging from insurance, investment to consultancy sought appointment with him with promises of offering the best services so that ‘we can grow together.’

But something went wrong in the second year of business. Sales stagnated. Customers were slow to pay as anticipated. Aging debts strained his cash flow. He struggled to service loans and threats from creditors become the norm of the day.

Things moved so fast that before he realised it, his business was struggling to stay afloat. But the worst happened. He lost the passion and the initial enthusiasm to work. For days getting out of bed, much less leaving his house, took enormous effort.

He withdrew from people and become lonely. He became afraid of night for at night pernicious thoughts dissecting each one of his many inadequacies and failed expectations ran through his mind rendering him sleepless. He was depressed!

Depression is a common phenomenon with many business people. According to a study by Dr Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, 30 per cent of all entrepreneurs experience depression at some point. If not well managed, it can lead to failure.

It is one of the dark sides of entrepreneurship that is hardy talked or written about. Majority of entrepreneurs pretend to be at ease even when things are falling apart and the centre is struggling to hold.

One of the major causes of depression is expectation. It emotionally hurts when you are not where you think you should be.

Many people venture into business expecting smooth sail, more money, and more freedom. They hardly anticipate that they may have to pass through storms and turbulent before sailing calmly.

When venturing into business it is always advisable to set realistic expectations and anticipate challenges before success.

Don’t compare yourself with other entrepreneurs or even your colleagues who might be thriving in their careers. Entrepreneurial journey is a marathon not a sprint race.

Readily accept the reality. If things are tough admit it and find a solution rather than live in self-denial. Be open to your friends and even employees and explain the challenges you might be facing and what you are doing about it.