The past couple of months I’ve shown us all what failure is. If you’re in business, you know that the onset of COVID-19 brought many unexpected challenges that you’ve had to manage. How do you bounce back from failure? What does it take for you to actually rise up and gain the momentum that you built before Covid 19?
The onset of COVID-19 brought many challenges resulting in a number of entrepreneurs shutting down their businesses. You might have been caught up in this. Many of us that had built momentum just before COVID-19 have a real challenge of how we can get back up and regain that momentum.
Around March 2020, my business was starting to pick up. I had formed a very strong team. We had organized our events because I do workshops. We had organized our eleven events really well. We had found Co facilitators for our workshops from Zambia, as well as from other African countries, and we were set, to make 2020 a very successful year for us. This is the year we’re actually supposed to be profitable and fly off as it were, but the unexpected happened. With an announcement from the Ministry of Health that no events were allowed, my business was drastically affected and so I had to work from home like everybody else and hoped for the best.
In my mind, I thought well, this is just a small hiccup and very soon we’re going to get back up. I didn’t know that this is going to take longer than expected, and so even as I was working from home, I had it in my mind that very soon we are going to go back and start holding our events. I can tell you that it’s now been two years and this is when we are actually planning our first event, the Know Your Tax 2022 Workshop.
How do you pick yourself up having built that momentum and then suddenly somebody from nowhere stops you? And you don’t know where to begin. One thing I’ve learned from the past events is that you need to have a safety net because for you to bounce back, you need something that can help you bounce off so that you can start rebuilding the momentum.
And what I’m trying to talk about here is, when you’re running a business, you need cash. We all know cash is the lifeblood of a successful enterprise and for you to bounce back, you need that safety net. Unfortunately, that’s the reality, for you to bounce back, you need the safety net of cash and of course, your hard work as well.
So when you talk about bouncing back something I learned from the previous months is that you need to build a safety net. There are so many ways you can build this safety net. I’ve had challenges where my cash wasn’t adequate to cover my business operations and I’ve had safety Nets that have helped me to bounce back or to bounce off. My past safety nets have been my parents as well as my siblings. These have helped me to bounce back. Whenever I need some kind of financing to help with my events, they’ve normally come in and assisted. And so in my past failures this has really helped me.
This safety net that was available to me through my parents and my siblings has helped me to bounce back and start making progress in my business. But then when COVID happened, everybody was having challenges and the safety net that I had was not just strong enough for me to bounce back off and it made me think, it made me reflect. Do I have my own safety net to bounce back off? This made me realize the importance of building my own safety net and not always having to rely on others. And so it made me think, for me to bounce back from failure, I need a safety net.
Do you know during the entire period of covid 19, I was rebuilding my cash flow, and all I’m trying to tell you is my focus was on cash flow? How do I have enough? How? In fact, how do I build the safety net? How do I build enough cash flow? Constantly flowing cash flow that can help me even in periods when I’m struggling, when I’m experiencing failure, when I can no longer have my events, when my clients are also going through cash flow problems, how do I build that strong safety? And so my energies were focused on rebuilding my safety net. And
I’m happy to say that yes, I have rebuilt a safety net that will enable me to fall down, but also bounce off, that so that I can make progress. And yes, even if my momentum may be halted temporarily, I can still make progress because I’ve got a safety net that I can bounce off, so that I can start making progress.
So how do you bounce back from failure. Well, the first thing you need to do is accept that you have failed. I realized that as long as I my life
goes on, there’s nowhere else to go. I do have to pick myself up and start making progress because if you don’t pick yourself up, what are you doing? When you are down, you’ve got no way out but to pick yourself up and to start making progress.
Something that really helped me was even when I was down, I never stopped working. I would wake up every day. And ensure I’m at work and doing my work every day relentlessly. When you are down, you need to accept that you have failed. But also accept that failure is only failure if you don’t pick yourself up and start making progress. When you don’t pick yourself up, then you have failed. But when you pick yourself up and start making progress, start working on your dreams. Start doing what you want to do, then you are not a failure because then that becomes a lesson, that is a lesson.
As long as you take the lessons, make adjustments, and start making progress, failure can be a huge advantage. You see many people give up. But the fact that you have failed and have picked yourself up means that you’ve learned many lessons. You are now a much better person. And you stand a better chance of succeeding at whatever goals you’ve created for yourself, not what others think success is, but what you actually set for yourself as success. When you pick yourself up and start making progress, then you are not a failure, and you are assured of success, cause there’s only one direction you’re heading.
Yes, everybody fails, but pick the lessons and start working. Start building that momentum. You might ask, so why are you doing yourself? How did you pick yourself up? Well, I’ve already told you, I never stopped working. I realized I did not have a safety net and that is enough cash flow to sustain my operations as well as myself, and so I went back to rebuilding my cash flow. I took decisions that resulted in me having a sustainable or regular source of income that will allow me, even in future, whenever we have interruptions with our operations, will allow us to get back because we have a safety net to bounce off, and start making progress.
And so this is just what I wanted to share with you. I know many entrepreneurs are a little bit confused as to how to you pick themselves up.
And 2022 holds a lot of great things for entrepreneurs in Zambia. You see the creation of the Ministry of SME’s in Zambia is not a small achievement. It is huge. Because for the first time we have a ministry that is focused on the needs of the small businesses and so we have greater things that are happening.
So what do you do? Failure will always be there. This is not the last time you’re experiencing it. For some, it might have been your first time, but it’s definitely not the last time. Failure will always be part of your business. And it’s not just failure to do with COVID-19, failure occurs in so many areas in business and you need to make sure you build that strength of character that will allow you to get back up every time you’re down. Make sure you build that character that enables you to get back up and start working on your vision. The greatest thing you can achieve from failure is to gain the lessons. Get them, get all these lessons, learn from them, make adjustments, get back up on your path, and very soon you’re going to see success.