Guest Post by: Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
“For every failure, there is an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour”
– Mary Kay Ash, Founder, Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Often we get caught up in what we think is the only way to fulfill our goals of running a business, forgetting that there are many ways to achieve our entrepreneurial aspirations if we know what we are really pursuing. Launching a successful business in the 21st century requires creativity and tenacity. There are real external circumstances that you have to consider and eventually overcome in order to move forward in business. You need to be resolute, flexible and persistent when confronted by setbacks, and most importantly, be able to challenge your own perspectives and assumptions.
Suppose you wanted to drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town in South Africa, but you insisted on waiting until you had absolute assurance that there would be no detours, no bad weather and no risk of any kind. Would you ever take this trip? I don’t think so! In planning your trip to Cape Town, you would without doubt ensure that your car was in good condition, know the route you’ll be taking, have had a good night’s sleep, and have eliminated as much risk as possible before departing. But the fact is, you can’t eliminate all the risks because you can’t predict everything that could happen en route.
"The test of a successful entrepreneur is not having the ability to eliminate all problems before taking action, but rather the ability to find the solutions to difficulties when they are encountered."
When you cannot move forward, then take a detour - turn left or right but whatever you do, don’t stop or go back. When presented by roadblocks such as lengthy processes, bureaucracies and so forth - keep moving. Sometimes failure or obstacles may point out adjustments you need to make in order to improve certain conditions in your business. Often, roadblocks are put in your path to force you to take a different path and without them you would never have taken the positive action necessary.
When I decided to publish my first book Your Moment, some publishers and financiers told me it would not sell because very few South Africans read, and that I would find it difficult to make a mark in an industry dominated by internationally acclaimed authors and speakers. However, I decided to use my own savings to self-publish the book - a year later, I sold 5000 copies from the boot of my car. A few months later, the Department of Education approved the book as Life Orientation material for high schools. However, given the bureaucracies in the system, the books never got to these schools. As a result, I then decided to launch my own Leadership Academy where I can use my own resources. I have since translated the book into French and Portuguese for use in different countries.
"When you cannot move forward, then take a detour - turn left or right but whatever you do, don’t stop or go back."
The lesson learned is that if you can’t find conditions you are seeking, create your own. Do not let other people’s opinions deter you from what you want to accomplish. People may tell you it is impossible - in fact, when everyone says it will never work or it has never been done, remember there is always a first time - you might just be onto something. Great innovation is often the result of trial and error.
Challenges always give us the opportunity to evaluate where we are, so that we can reposition ourselves if necessary. You may need to transform your business in response to market shifts, ground breaking technologies and new information. Sometimes you may need to adjust quickly to turn your business into something new to have a competitive advantage.
When your first attempt fails, find another approach.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn