I recently attended a workshop organised by Astrolabs, a startup founded by two young and ambitious entrepreneurs, Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki with the objective to help other entrepreneurs in scaling their startups. Pay it forward…
There was a common theme, entrepreneurs running high on energy and low on resources, all whom want to grow and propel their startups into the Middle East’s next success story.
Most entrepreneurs spoke about the challenges they face on a daily basis starting from lack of market data and limited funding, to matters more complex such as startup culture, finding the right talent and making tough decisions like firing people, downsizing, scaling and above all surviving and thriving!
Speaking from a personal experience, I find the most daunting challenge entrepreneurs face on a daily basis is making decisions with a limited amount of resources (time, money, people) and having to live with the consequences. As my friend Henri Asseily who is a well established and successful entrepreneur put it “there is no one to hold your hand and show you the way” it is a continuous process of trial and error.
What differentiates successes from failures is the ability to make the right decisions but most importantly making the decision. Indecision is the silent killer of startups in my opinion.
There are many reasons why entrepreneurs may not react and avoid decision making, here are a few:
– Comfort zone. The nice fluffy cushion that smells nice, is familiar and provides a warm and fuzzy feeling. If business is good, why rock the boat? why worry? Until a well funded competitor steals the cushion while we’re asleep.
– Consequences. Living with the consequences of our decisions can be hard. This means we only have ourselves to judge and often it is quite hard to be at the forefront of our own judgement. The fear of failure, the anxiety, the ambiguity and the sleepless nights! I suppose there are no guarantees in life.
– Having it all. Indecision gives people the illusion of having it all while in fact they have nothing. By being indecisive, entrepreneurs spread themselves too thin, trying to be many things at once, often contradicting their own vision. Indecision is a vicious circle of false comfort and it is only a matter of time until things start falling apart.
As hard as it may be, the ability to make decisions on a daily basis is what makes entrepreneurs a rare breed. Having been through the entrepreneurial journey with Nabbesh for almost 2 years, I must bow out to the entrepreneurs who are courageous enough to keep at it despite the hardship that starting a business entails. If I learned one thing in the past 2 years, it is that entrepreneurship is not glamorous, in fact, it is the “anti glamour” unless of course you become Facebook!
So as long as entrepreneurs are making decisions on a daily basis, we are guaranteed an infinite amount of innovation, learning, drama and success in our region since entrepreneurs are the engine upon which our economy ought to run.