Be the change you wish to see in the world

During this series of articles, I have been highlighting the passions, visions, and missions of young Pacific entrepreneurs and how they are turning these into sustainable and resilient businesses with the hope that these stories will inspire others! It is a privilege and a pleasure to be working with these young people and I want to thank them for helping to keep me young too!

Today is the last article in this series.

Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard for it.

We are fortunate in the Pacific to have many young inspiring entrepreneurs who are doing incredible things, attempting to put their dreams into practice. This series has highlighted some of them. I want to finish with some general comments to help anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur.

If you are thinking about developing your own business, why are you doing it now? What is motivating you and inspiring you to take this path? Have you thought about what success will look like? Discuss these questions with a coach or supporter. If you do not know one then let me know and I’ll make a connection for you.

Remember that building a business is not for everyone. Employment will work better for many. Running your own business is hard work – there is no glamour in doing it and maintaining a good life work balance will always be challenging. Lots of people will look at you with envy and think you must be doing great! However, they will not see all the hard work, the long hours and the vertical climb to get there! You can be sure that there will be many sleepless nights. As the owner or entrepreneur, you will be paid last as you have to pay everyone else first. You need to be clear that you can manage this if it arises. Do you have the support of those you care about and do you have a contingency plan if things do not work out?

If you are still keen, then you have to give it 100%. Forget being perfect – ‘just do it’ and learn as you go on. Having a mentor or coach will be a great help and support during these uncertain times.

Remember what Albert Einstein said, ’we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them‘.

You will need to learn how to think differently. Start by writing down your goals and sharing them. Actively seek feedback and also look at the resources you have – time, land, money, skills, people, equipment, buildings, transport and so on. Consider your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Be clear where you are aiming for and the steps you need to take to get there.

Get someone to help you create a sensible and useful business case; think about the lifetime value of your customers; develop your brand based on the experience you are offering your customers; always aim for operational excellence and leverage technology as best you can.

As an entrepreneur, you have made a decision to be on this journey. Good support will help you keep your expectations grounded. You will make mistakes, but you will learn and grow from them. You will quickly understand who you can trust and once you are on this journey, give it everything; be strategic; be decisive and bring your business idea to life!

I want to end this series with a few habits of successful young entrepreneurs that I hope will help you:

• Evaluate your actions and priorities everyday if possible, certainly every week.

• Seek new experiences – go out of your way to challenge yourself.

• Set clear goals and share with others

• Enjoy helping others

• Take time to build your team

• Do not take no for an answer!

• Don’t be afraid to jump into the unknown

• Learn from others – never stop learning

• Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses – build on your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

• Always watch for opportunities

• Spend time with other entrepreneurs!

A final comment from Catherine Cook, founder, MyYearbook.com,’ To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you are going to regret it‘.

Thank you for reading these articles and for all the emails I get on a regular basis. Have a good week and a fantastic, safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year break. I will be back next year with a new series.

Please contact me if you have an interesting story to tell and are happy for it to be told.

Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact chris@breadfruitconsulting.com or hazel@breadfruitconsulting.com

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