Starting A Business: When The Rubber Meets the Road

I always laugh when my friend talks about the theory of the rubber. He always hints to me that when the rubber is being threaded in Sameer Africa Ltd’s production line, it usually says that once it is out of the industry, the tarmac on Mombasa Road will learn a lesson. Far from being true, the rubber ends up learning the lesson instead.

Let’s think for a minute about the rubber scenario and starting a business. If the rubber was forever in the showroom, it will never learn the lesson. It would always say that it can teach the tarmac a lesson if given an opportunity. Ideas on starting a business are like the rubber in the showroom until you get out there and try them. A dream remains a dream as long as you dream until you wake up and live up to the dream.

Starting a business is one of the best learning platforms in life. If one is beginning a business from Zero to One, one gets to learn a lot of lessons that those people who never tried their hand at a business can never know. Josh Kopelman, an investor said, “Every business plan is wrong. The moment the entrepreneur clicks “save” and “print,” the plan is out of date.” While starting their ventures, entrepreneurs always use business plans as a standard or mark list against which they build their success. Once the businesses begin full operation, the entrepreneur realizes that a lot of things only look good on paper.

When one begins a business, they look at the amount of profit they will make based on sheer projection. Somebody for instance projects that he/she will be making about Kshs. 20,000 profit per day if they sold a certain number of items from the six brands he or they will be making or manufacturing. When he/she starts production, reality hits them that perhaps they can only do production on two or three brands a day for three consecutive days before they can switch over. Why so? One reason could be a small floor space which cannot carry all machinery at one go. Another reason could be a high cost of production in terms of manpower which is harmful for a business as it starts up.

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                                                        Picture courtesy of Dreamstime

When it comes to hitting the road in the field of business, one has to have the gut and character of perseverance because the hills are very many on the road. This “culture shock” can be worked upon in most ways by learning from those who have walked the same path. If the new rubber in the showroom looked at the old tire and took its’ time to learn from it, perhaps it could be ready for the tarmac bruise. When one is not prepared to face the hurdles in the journey of entrepreneurship, most of them end up giving up because of the disappointments they face on the way. Getting an apprenticeship or a mentor who has been successful in the field you intend to venture into goes a long way in minimizing the mistakes you will make along the way.

Throughout my entire life, I have never met a person who believed he could run and went out of his comfort to practice it and failed terribly. In the same life also, I have met several people who felt they could run, sing or do great things in this life and never went out to try any of those things. They have lived most of their lives believing they were born to contend with the very position they have or in the places they are. The guys who run and win gold medals were not born while running. Self-made millionaires and billionaires were not born rich, the guys who become presidents and kings are not born presidents or are not born on thrones, they went out to follow the courses they so much believed in and that is how they became what they are.

The life of an entrepreneur is not a very smooth one. It is a life filled with making quick decisions, veering off course, and finding your way back albeit without a compass. While getting back on course without the compass, the entrepreneur at this time can innovate and invent. They get to think “outside the box” which makes them to be who they are or they become. A person can never know the depth of the river unless he feels it using a pole or if they know how to swim walk in or dive. Standing at the river bank just imagining that the river is very deep is very insane. You can stand there the whole day only for one risk taker to come and walk through only for you to realize then that the waters can’t reach even the waist.

Thinking that you can make it through a course by merely thinking about it and dreaming about it doesn’t help you move. Getting out there and doing the real walking through the course is what helps you to learn and grow. You get to know all that ought to be known in terms of details along the path; the corners, the roundabouts, and the bumps such that when you walk through the same path again it becomes easier and smoother. If somebody else walks through the same path also, you get to advise them about avoiding the same mistakes you made while walking through it.

In business, you get to learn while doing the walking. Our stories are all very unique. It is only we, individually who can tell them out after we experience them. Get up, get out there, and walk yours as you learn from the rubber that has already met the road. It becomes easier to understand the whole idea about the story changing when the rubber meets the road.

All the best in your entrepreneurial journey.

Copyright @ 2017.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at info@dailyfocus.co.ke
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