Business requires patience and hope

Business requires patience and hope

Entrepreneurship | Judette Coward-Puglisi

March 16, 2011

Hope is an essential ingredient when growing your business, so too is patience. They will get you through the inevitable dips and bumps in the journey and provide you with the bits of optimism necessary to persevere.

Patience though does not come without the work. The long hours, the worry, the working weekends negate any word-associated thinking  that patience  is  about any waiting game. Instead it is all about action, doing, thinking re-looking, revising, pressing forward, stepping  back, rethinking, doing.

11 years in Grenada I met a CEO who epitomized all of this. Joel Webbe, CEO of W&W Electronics Ltd., a high technology production company, had just Entrepreneur of the Year award when I  went to Grenada to interview him. What amazed me about his story was his resilience. After painstakingly building  a profitable business in 1989,  it was destroyed by a volcano in Monsterrat. A year later he moved production to Grenada and watched his factory crumble to the floor during two hurricanes. Through each dip, and on the verge of bankruptcy Webbe relied on faith, family, day-in and day-out patient work to get through and rebuild.

Likewise Starbucks didn’t become Starbucks without the work and mistakes necessary to become a global business. At first they plugged along with a few stores. “They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success.”

Writer JK Rowlings sat in coffee shops for days on end, was virtually homeless and  a single mother while she worked on her book. What do the three have in common. There was no magic lottery ticket for Webbe, no silver bullet for Starbucks, no quick fix for Rowlings. Just time and a painstaking,  patient kind of work.

But what of hope?

It’s an ingredient I think that  is even more difficult than patience to get a hold of, because hope is less tangible. When a fledgling entrepreneur rushes over to a financier who just appeared on a panel and goes into a speech about his business with the ‘hope; that she will be impressed enough to write a $3 million dollar cheque, that hope is misplaced.  Hope never involves shortcuts. And while it can be magical,  it also suggests a precision like focus on what’s important to succeed.  It suggests that your work should  be grounded in passion and be worthy of  your energy. It dictates that what you deliver day in and out ought to be remarkable. It necessitates  that you delight your audience. It demands that you work your way up. In the end what  it really means is that you should follow the longer, more deliberate path and walk it one step at a time.

Every step, at the end, becomes a remarkable journey in hope.


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