Completing college and graduating with a first class felt like I had conquered the world. I had done and done it very well. I had achieved an honorary degree, something that is not easy to attain. I went out of college with a lot of expectations. “Having acquired my bachelor’s degree in business, I felt like I had all it takes to start my own business and become a successful entrepreneur,” exclaimed Issa Asad Florida entrepreneur and CEO of Q Link Wireless and Quadrant Holdings.
But was that the case? Let’s find out. It was now when things began getting real. My high expectations began to fade and were it not for the advice from my friend; the business would have collapsed.
Below are few fundamental things I came to understand, you can never get from sitting in a lecture hall.
1. Raising Money
I was exquisite at raising and saving money for college parties and simple projects. Student loans were also easy to apply and receive. So, I thought getting money to start my business would be as easy. However, I realized that raising money to start a business, was an upward task. My first visit to the bank shocked me. They asked me to present an elaborate business plan and a written explanation on how I would get their money back. I found this difficult since I had not been taught anything like this. I decided to seek help, but the only help available was for a fee. Lengthy negotiations followed that finally landed me to getting a loan.
I was jubilant to get the money and thought I had all the resources to start my business. But then a second task arose. Handling such a large sum of money was something very new to me. I was only used to my small, insufficient student loan which lasted a few weeks. Having this sum of money in my account gave me so much warmth that I almost forgot the plan to start the business. Budgeting was needed lest I was to fail terribly. I decided to consult a friend who we work with even today, who helped me with the budgeting. Through his help, I was now able to plan for the many expenses with ease, something I had not learned in college.
3. Facing Failure
At the start of my business, I was faced with many issues that almost brought my business down. First, the sales were too little. I could not understand why people did not like the place, having invested so much to meet their needs. Failure was slapping me right in the face. However, upon proper consultation, I realized that there was something I did not get from my lecturers. The point of being patient and the measures I was supposed to take to get the customers’ attention. I needed to be patient and employ techniques such as offers to attract the customers. Though I survived, I realized there was more beyond sitting in a lecture hall.
4. Thinking Outside the Box
The exams at school only involved two probabilities; a wrong or a right. However, as I progressed in the world of business, the need for ambiguity arose. There was a need to stop striving to make things seem right, but rather, come up with a unique service and leaving the customer to review it and decide on its value. All expectations of being right or wrong had to be erased. I had to start eyeing on being unique and creative.