Courage to start and build
Courage is the backbone of leadership. – Gus Lee
Last year I, Paul, saw a photo of a company that started only a week prior to the photo been taken and already had its first success. In the picture you see a smiling man of around 45 years old. He wears a yellow safety vest over his jacket. On the vest is a QR code and a name tag: “My Name is Jack. I am happy to wash your car for 50 rand. Jack washes cars on the spot and customers can pay him by scanning the QR code. The 50 rand is deposited into the account number of Jack’s promoter Johan. The deal is that Johan keeps track of how much money Jack earns, and pays Jack once a week. Last
week, Jack was homeless, but he now has a job with a reliable stable income.
Johan started this business because he was frustrated because Jack was standing at the traffic lights every week asking for money. Johan said to him: “If you wash my car, you will get 50 Rand.” That was a nice first step, but it did not really help Jack over the long term. Then, Johan came up with the idea of the vest. Within a week Johan had made the vest, opened an account and gave Jack the instructions. Jack, dressed in his new vest, went straight to work at his new job. By the end of the second week, Johan paid Jack’s first salary. Thanks to Johan’s initiative the yo-yo lifestyle of homeless people – first make money, then
spend the money, then earn money again – has been broken.
Within two weeks, Johan and Jack have launched this new business. No endless planning, no procrastination, no lengthy consultation. Just: idea + realistic
translation + material + invoice + instruction, and then try. And Jack? He starts his second week of work this week. You may think: “But that’s just a drop in a bucket?” It may be, but that drop has a name and his name is Jack. The foundation has been laid. Who knows, thousands of Jacks may be added, who can also be helped by breaking the problematic yo-yo effect. Maybe there are many Johans’ around the country who want to make a difference with a decisive idea.
Where do I start?
So at the end of this series of blogs, our advice for you is to dare and just do it! Go on a voyage of discovery. Get your Design Your Business book today and
start. You might start with the step of “I am the entrepreneur”. Discover your talents, your passion, your mission, your dream, your resilience. Even if you’re
not starting a business yet, working out Chapter 1 is a good start in your entrepreneurial discovery.
Maybe you do not want to think about yourself at all, which is also fine. In that case it is worthwhile to start with Chapter 2. Start discovering who your
customers are, what they need, and what they dream of. Even then you will be working on building your own company.
Or perhaps you would rather explore first. You might say: “I’m curious, I’m going to see what’s going on around me, how the market works, what smart,
unique and inspiring companies actually look like.” By starting with Chapter 3, you may see a product, a gap in the market, a customer group with a need that
appeals to you, and perhaps this is the beginning of your entrepreneurship.
Finally, you might be someone who is just satisfied with your own product. Maybe you do not really want to think about yourself, the market, or even your
customers. This is also possible, so just start in Chapter 4. You will discover that some of the other Chapters will also become of use in your path to
Our advice is to start somewhere! Because once you start your journey, you will gradually discover and develop all kinds of special ideas. If it suits you, find a
companion or team to travel with. Once you begin, you will notice that opportunities begin to arise that will increase the chances of starting and
expanding your own business in a sustainable way.
Take courage, discover the entrepreneur in you, follow your dreams, and it will be an exciting journey. We, Paul and Cias, are looking forward to hear your story in the coming years.
Please feel free to take a look on our website www.xpand.eu and find the nearest office among the ones we now have in fifteen countries, if you’re looking for support and material to make yourself and your business or organisation grow.
And do not forget: enjoy your journey!
Paul and Cias
This blog post contains an excerpt from our new book, Design Your Business, by Paul Donders and Cias Ferreira
Get your copy of Design your Business today for R320
Or you can buy the e-book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RZWBTQH