There is no such thing as starting over.
When you start on the journey of building something, there is no such thing as “back to square 1”. It’s not possible to go back to the start and re-start the journey differently entirely. Entrepreneurship is a continuous journey. Sometimes, yes, it takes you in circles or through dark alleys and often, to dead ends – when that happens, you get back to the main road and pick another turn.
A few months ago, someone contacted me sharing his struggles in building a business. He seemed to be running the company for at least 14 years and doing well at some point so I asked him, what seem to be halting him from succeeding now.
“My partner left.” And my reply as “So?”. At some point in the beginning, the partner seemed to render expertise to the business in winning relationships and contributing to management. However, he left abruptly at some point with the company funds, and clearly not on very good terms with this person thereafter.
And he was adamant in convincing me, how he now struggles at starting over because his partner left.
I don’t get it – what do you mean by starting over? What do you mean, you are back at the start with nothing and trying to rebuild the exact same success you’ve achieved last fourteen years?
There is no such thing as starting over, my friend. You’re very mistaken.
Let me remind you who you were on you got started. You are someone with dreams and passion, but lack the experience to build the company you’ve visioned to run. You have little exposure, some connections and less experience than you have today. You have to learn a lot, and work a lot to grow that company from becoming a better leader each day, a better sales person and a better corporate professional. I am sure, you’ve had your tough years and days you’d felt like quitting, but the thought of how hungry for success you are – kept you going. And the memories of the pain you’ve gone through keeps you motivated to reap its rewards. When you started, there was less traction and publicity for your brand or you. People do not know who you are, what your company is all about and if the services you rendered would make any sense to them. Over time, they understood that value adding service to their lives and business, that strangers became your clients and even some, your investors.
But you – you did not realise that you’ve changed. Your wealth of knowledge have grown extensive despite the state of your company now. Your experiences built you up for tough times, and maturity and wisdom accumulate in you from the years of working with people from employees to clients, from all levels and walks of life. And if you forget, let me remind you – that you are not quite the same person.
You have gone smarter, experienced, capable and actually unstoppable. You now have so much more in you than just passion like you first started. You have the connections with people who trusted you, the experience of the services you’ve rendered for years, and the capabilities to run a company again from hiring and leading potentially way better. So, how can you say you are on the losing end?
So what if your partner left with the company funds, or if your human resources left you? So what if you need to work hard again to rebuild everything though it seemed to me, the second time round is much easier than the first time of not knowing a lot more.
Use that experience.
Apply better strategies, make better planning and execute better plans to now deliver faster and more efficient service in the industry you have been catering for years.
Use that connections.
Rounding up people in your existing network for any reason (sales or investment) should be much easier, because you have a track record that clearly showcase your competency in doing business. Investors understand failure of past ventures can be as a result of things beyond your control, but a temporary failure don’t mean you won’t be able to succeed again. The people who’ve trusted and believed in you all alone, will continue to do so. You just need to share your clear vision on how you plan to build it up, and these trusting relationships might offer what you need in a jiffy.
Use that wisdom.
Use that wisdom in leading your new team better. Now that you’re more experienced, you’ve naturally have grown smarter at hiring and retaining. You can better identify good talents and were that fits in your organization. And since you’ve endured some betrayal, then you should also have improved in your judgement of human character.
Use that branding.
If you have been a competitive leader in your industry to last that long in business, that apart from your clients – many others would have heard of your existence. Your branding or company services would have been known by others, and it’s something to further leverage on that to market a totally new brand from scratch.
So, you see, there is really no such thing as starting over.
Resetting in business does not mean going back to Square 1. People will come and go – so do clients, office space, rise and depletion of funds. Even success and failure are temporarily phases in the life of a business anyway. So when things do not seem to work out, here is a simple advice – leave it. Move on. Go build another.
If a client is lost, it’s not supposed to be your main problem. Go hunt more clients at the same time. When resources are gone, start the scouting for new teams and if your budget is tight, educate and motivate everyone to take multiple roles until your profitability rise again. If you need to downsize your office space, streamline your team or cut back on your pay check – just do it, make it fast and then go back to focussing in business development again.
And even better now that the unreliable partner is gone, worry less about him and be ecstatic as how you can now run the entire organization solely on your direction and vision. Without his intervention anymore. That sounds like paradise to me!
Don’t be disheartened.
Believe in yourself enough. You have so much power to dictate the path of your life and business. Everyone of us go through struggles and pitfalls at some points, and successful people are not those who did not have hardships but those you are bold enough to overcome theirs. They are the ones who’ve suffered tough times, and that was the exact thing what made them tougher.
Don’t play the blame game.
The easiest way to soothe the aching heart, after a fall out in business is to point fingers. But that is not a solution, but merely to console yourself and time invested doing so would mean more time is lost to get back on track. Forget about who did wrong, and what the wrongdoing was on you, forget about closing every loop in the past for some do not have solutions. Learn the lesson and use that to make better decisions. There is no competition with anyone other than being better in what you do, every day.
Don’t stop moving.
Don’t let these setbacks stop you from scaling or growing, in both the professional and personal space. They are not meant to halt you, trust me, but instead to groom and shape you. Think of it as a way to equip you for bigger and better challenges to come, and if you’ve always dreamt of making it big – then you would need these lessons immensely today. Fear creeps into that head once in a while, I am sure but don’t let it stop you. Be informed that the war is always worse in your head.
And don’t question how long it takes to achieve something (again) because the time will pass anyway.