I’m sure that you have always dreamt of starting your own business or developing new ideas. There is the excitement, satisfaction and joy of starting an idea from scratch. But there is also the stress and uncertainty that comes with taking that idea and making it a profitable business (Medium, 2018). It’s been always said that an entrepreneur’s journey is full of surprises, a roller coaster ride to the crazy world of business. It’s a ride filled with challenges, barriers, pivots, and the main trial is usually how to cope with uncertainty mentioned before.
And the reality is that we, humans, spend our whole lives trying to buy security from the unknown by, for example, getting protection from everything undetermined or with no possible explanation like illness, death or even an accident (Business Collective, 2019). When referring to the workplace and business aspect, we always seek to minimise the risk of the unidentified. To be honest, it takes another level of courage to leave your job security on a side and become an entrepreneur, taking big risks with uncertainness consequences.
According to Richard Cantillo (Econlib, 2002), an Irish French economist who introduced the term ‘entrepreneurship’ in 1720 , he said: “Entrepreneurs work on uncertain wages, whether they establish with or without capital”. Entrepreneurs deal with the fast-changing technology, commercialising of products or services, proof of concepts, hiring new people in the team, funding and exit strategies, prototyping, and so on. All of them are examples of uncertainty that entrepreneurs deal in their daily life (Forbes, 2019).
So how can entrepreneurs cope with uncertainty?
Overcoming uncertainty is not as easy as it sounds, and it does not mean you have to ignore the problem and act as everything is in control. It means entrepreneurs need to be aware that not everything is as you always planned, and therefore, you must understand how to control the self-doubt and regain the confidence even if you are not sure what you are talking about.
Therefore, here are a few ways in which, I believe, entrepreneurs can manage risks and survive uncertainty.
1. Learn more, look for help !!
People have always argued that entrepreneurs usually do not have the knowledge to fulfil their business, being one of the reasons why they fail. But today, is an argument that can be debatable. For instance, with the changes in technology and the way people interact and live on a day-to-day basis, it is more common to find in your network people that might help you understand any advice on doubts regarding a specific area of your business. For example, nowadays entrepreneurs in London and other cities are working in open offices, accelerators or incubators where different people of different background and nationalities meet. Taking advantages of the available mentorships and workshops of different topics can also help. Furthermore, talking to people who have already been there and had the same struggles can motivate you to move on, regardless the problem you are facing.
2. Have a flexible plan
It’s difficult to plan the future, and even more, that those plans come exactly as you thought about them. There’s why, entrepreneurs usually recommend to always think strategically what you want in order to achieve your goals and become successful in the future with your company but always having more than one plan in order to achieve that goal. Here is where a problem-solving personality comes into play, always looking for a solution when the plan does not come as projected is the way to survive.
Even though knowledge and planning are very important to overcome uncertainty, I believe confidence is the most important one. A lack of confidence often limits entrepreneurs to take control or responsibility on their own idea; and at the same time, it is less probably that you convince others to believe in it if you don’t show confidence and passion for your business. Of course, everything taken to the extreme is harmful, and overconfidence is not an omission. Believe in your company enough to have the passion to continue, with the challenges and struggles, but also with the humility of listening the constructive criticism of the public, especially your potential customers. Having a supportive partner is usually helpful because you can actually compensate different skills with each other.
In consequence, worrying too much about ‘what may happen or could have happened’ will not take you anywhere (The Pitcher, 2019). In fact, you need to stop and concentrate on what could happen if you solve it with your knowledge and strategic plans. Taking actions is the best way to put yourself and your business on top. Conclusion? Always learn from those experienced and keep going no matter what, believing in your dreams!
- BusinessCollective. (2019). The Uncertainty of Entrepreneurship | BusinessCollective. [online] Available at: https://businesscollective.com/the-uncertainty-of-entrepreneurship/index.html [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
- Econlib.org. (2002). Entrepreneurship, by Mark Casson: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics | Library of Economics and Liberty. [online] Available at: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/Entrepreneurship.html [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
-Forbes.com. (2012). How Entrepreneurs Cope With Uncertainty. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2012/10/23/how-entrepreneurs-cope-with-uncertainty/#eedc04c255ee [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
-iAfrikan. (2017). How Entreprenuers Can Cope With Uncertainty. [online] Available at: https://www.iafrikan.com/2017/04/19/how-entreprenuers-can-cope-with-uncertainity/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
-Medium. (2018). How To Embrace The Uncertainty Of Entrepreneurship – The Startup – Medium. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-embrace-the-uncertainty-of-entrepreneurship-284114022cef [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
-The Pitcher. (2019). The Two Basic Steps to Overcoming Entrepreneurial Uncertainty. [online] Available at: https://thepitcher.org/the-two-basic-steps-to-overcoming-entrepreneurial-uncertainty/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].
-Writers, C., Account, M., Dorian, M., (2011). [online] Copyblogger. Available at: https://www.copyblogger.com/insecurity/ [Accessed 4 Mar. 2019].