I write this on a Saturday night, completely exhausted. Not physically, but mentally. To the point I couldn't even help my daughter with her homework. I had nothing more to give to anyone. I could only lie on the coach, footy on the TV watching the inside of my eyelids. This followed from a week from hell. I won't go into details but let’s just say it made me think about whether people going into business realise what it’s really like.
I don't consider myself a good businessman. I just try really hard and am damn stubborn and persistent. There are lots of business owners out there far better than me. But I think of the times the young bucks and does come to see me wanting to buy into a pharmacy. They are super keen, ask heaps of questions and are so enthusiastic. It’s great to see. But unfortunately, as is often the case, they see the world like new lovers, when the world is full of joy and wonder with pink rose hues. They see the successful pharmacy owners and want to have a life like theirs. So when they ask for advice, the first thing I say to them is this. "Do not under estimate how hard this is going to be. It will test every single ounce of mental and physical strength you have."
I recently saw a great picture representing the truth of running a business. Like an iceberg, the 10% of the iceberg above the surface is the success. The 90% below represents the exhaustion, the tears, frustrations, countless failures, loss, heartache, long long hours, sacrifice and at times loneliness. It will test every ounce of mental and physical strength you have. Then when you are bug eyed awake at 3am thinking why the hell am I doing this, the answer lies in bed next to you, and further down the corridor in your kids bedrooms. You do it for them. It is what puts food on the table. It's what pays for your children's education. It provides your lifestyle. It is what sometimes enables you to go on those nice holidays. And see your kids play footy or dance, or go to school assemblies to see your cherubs get an award. It's what you do for your family. Every now and then business will remind you of the joy and fulfilment we get and why we started this damn thing in the first place. It's like a game of golf - 17 holes of pure crap, with 1 hole that gives you a faint glimmer of hope that you might actually know what you are doing.
We all hope there is that one day it will be worth it. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. That is business. It is a cruel harsh beast. There have been plenty before you that have been left with not much and business has failed. But when I talk to successful business owners, many of them comment on their failings. Of lost business ventures, failures and financial hard times. These are the lessons we need to learn if we want to be successful. Whatever success means to you.
So if you are thinking of taking the plunge, think clearly whether you are prepared for whatever lies ahead of you. Success or failure. What are you prepared to give up to pursue that dream?
But like any dream to reach the top of a mountain, the joy is in the journey. Just sometimes we may stub our toe, trip over or whatever. But we get up, patch ourselves up and keep going. That is how we grow and get stronger. If you keep stubbing your toe, you’re really not learning quick enough are you?
Good luck to you young bucks and does wanting to give it a shot. I applaud you all for your guts. Some of you will be successful, some may not. Some will be lucky, some may not. But the 90% of crap you are about to go through on those 17 holes are worth it.