Writing on how I became prosperous in a time of serious economic woes may sound quite distressing for thousands of people out there. I decided however to share my secrets merely because they are some of the old financial values and principles that most of us were taught at a young age but forgot when we learnt about fancy market instruments, stocks and bonds and hundreds of other ways to get quick returns through investment schemes. In fact, there are so many tips on how to make money and become successful.
About ten years ago, in 1998, to be exact, I decided to get involved in business. I got all sorts of advice on the do’s and the don’ts and sometimes asked myself whether the key to success and prosperity really existed. I must say that one of my greatest challenges at the time was boosting my self confidence and not think about my competitors who all seemed to know what they were about and well established. But as time went by I realized that some things took more time than others and most happened when they were due.
At times when sales were low and I seemed to be barely making a profit, I thought of giving up, applying for a job with a company or to try out something new, but there was always hope whenever I got soothing words from close friends and family members. But really, as time went by, and months turned to years, the thrill of opening shop without the harassment of a boss, staying on to work or to shut down however convenient could just not be given up to be bossed around by anyone.
Two years down the road, my minimart turned into somewhat of a community household name and I did win the confidence and trust of my customers and money started rolling in. Before you knew it, I considered myself a successful businessman; though, well I did not make as much as the larger businesses, but was able to pay myself much more than I would have gotten in a regular job.
My experience in business is surely not an isolated one and many of you reading this can identify with the scenario. There are those of us who fight hard to make an honest day’s living and others who get involved in scandals, bad dealings and corruption. One thing about life, though, is that there are only two ways of learning – the easy way or the hard way. I realized that in business the honest way was the easiest for me.
I may have knocked my toe once or twice over a few stumbling blocks placed by other folks who were more established than I was but felt threatened, so they looked down from the upper ladder and tried to kick me down as well as folks who were trying to catch up and tried to tug at my shirt so I could be pulled down, but I survived among all of those desperate hounds.
Oftentimes I am amazed by how people are devoured by greed, always think that they needed more and more and more to feel happy and treated our fellowmen so inhumanely as if they are cattle – even if they would not dare to ill treat their house pets. People sometimes call it the rat race or the dog eat dog world, none of which are pleasant and in life there is always a correct way and a wrong way of doing something and it seems as if that’s just how it is, sadly to say.
So what are my secrets to prosperity?
In life, once we agree to take a risk or do anything, we should expect to win or lose, succeed or fail. Losing or winning is as easy as making pancakes with a batter that turns out horrible, failing an exam, trying out a new look or haircut that just does not go with you but the damage is already done. A good and positive mindset is therefore very important and we must be willing that things may not work out as we expect or as planned. We have to be ready to stand the test of time, be psychologically prepared for anything and move on accordingly. Our eyes have to be set on succeeding but success should not be the only thing on our minds so as to become obsessed and greedy and end up losing touch with the neatty gritties that really matter and allow us to enjoy and love the work that we do.
Work within your limits
There is no wrong doing is setting high standards and dreaming big but we do have be acknowledge our financial and knowledge capacities. We may have a nag for doing business, great ideas and making business partners but are not necessarily accountants or secretaries or security guards. If you have great business ideas and problem solving skills it is wise to know your shortcomings and delegate wherever necessary. It is also unhealthy to try to stock up on excessive amounts of goods and run up your debts without trying to set limits on your expenses. This takes us to my next key.
Loans and taking goods on credit help us to do things that we are unable to do for ourselves financially. But, a debt free businessman sleeps well at nights. Well… he may have other problems but debts in particular are major, so walking before running is far better especially when gaining new experience and practical knowledge about the business that you are engaged in.
Do your homework
Do not be too quick to give up. Customers want to see stability, productivity and seriousness. Sometimes we do find ourselves in situations where nothing we try seems to work so we keep changing one business activity for another; some of us do that way too quickly and frequently and end up giving the impression of mismanagement, bad luck or failure to the customer and this should be avoided. So whatever we decide to do, we should perform the necessary research about the market, demand, supply and profitability of that product; not just do it because everyone else is doing it – what works for one may not necessarily work for you.
Try to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over. Each lesson learnt is a lesson gained. Whilst you are involved in your business it is smart to work on bettering your education, taking business training programs that suit you and learning about international finance; come out of your comfort zone and develop yourself professionally so that you are better equipped to face changes that are occurring in your region and the world by having an understanding of what is going on and what you should do to shield or minimize the negative effects.
Be hopeful and optimistic
This is not the first recession that the US has known, nor other parts of the world. Remembering that better days are ahead, acting wisely and responsibly during the tough times and working toward the best will test how strong and good a business man you are, especially if new on the block as I was in 1998. There are times for lots of sales and barely anything. Be strong.
(c) Caribbean Land and Property April 2009