There is an old saying that you cannot lead people where you have not been yourself. Before you lead others to prosperity you have to do it yourself. It makes sense really as you need to have done the reconnaissance so that you know what works and what does not work.
If all you know is how to find a job and there are no jobs out there for the people you want to work with what do you do? There are many who would say set up your own business and just get on with it. That is easy to say for someone who has not done that but how do they know what it really involves.
How can you be an effective support to someone else unless you know what it is like to walk in their shoes? God thought this was a good idea that He went to great lengths to reassure us that He knew it was like to be a human. It is highly probable that Jesus as the eldest child of the family knew what it was like to run the family business. It is not just that during the last few days and hours of His life He suffered more than we are ever likely to do. In the same way we need to reassure those who are looking to us for help that we know what it is like to face and overcome challenges.
The challenge itself
Setting up a business is not something for wimps. It means stepping out and doing things that stretch you and that often demand a lot of inner strength. It involves persuading other people that you can add value to their lives and that you should be rewarded for what you do for them.
How can you persuade others that you can add value to their lives if you do not value who you are and what you do? If you value who you are then you will charge prices that will make it easier for you to survive financially. If you value what you do you will be able to persuade others to buy what you have to offer them. Knowing how valuable you are and how you can prove that value to others is essential if you are going to succeed in the business arena.
It means facing up to your fears. It means facing up to the fear of rejection when people do not buy what you want to offer them. It means facing the fear of the unknown when starting something new.
It means stepping out on your own without the support services those in a job take for granted. If something needs doing you have to find a way to get it done. Either you learn to do the accounts or you hire a book-keeper.
Going into business is not a get rich quick scheme. However, it is probably the best personal development programme that you could ever embark upon.
Learn from doing
We look at people who have succeeded in business and forget that in order to get to that exalted status they have had to face some failures as well. Teachers talk about discovery learning i.e. setting up ways of learning by doing. Entrepreneurs learn from their unsuccessful business ventures, the launch that flopped, the product that did not sell. Many tell the story of the thing that they did not do in their first business that eventually caught up with them and put them out of business so teaching them a valuable lesson they never forgot.
There are no guarantees in business. Some things work and some things don’t. Experience shows what you need to put in place to minimise the risk. Failure is always a possibility. In fact when it comes to business start ups the majority do not survive past their first birthday.
However, it is possible to succeed. In fact in some communities being in business is the norm. They know that the skills and attitudes needed to succeed can be learned. In fact setting up and running business ventures has become part of the informal learning that takes place within the family. That used to be very common in the UK until the industrial revolution when one factory with its economies of scale took over the work done in many many little cottages.
A few generations later people are struggling to find jobs in these factories and they have been left floundering because those skills and attitudes are no longer taught in their community. In fact some would say that rather than being taught how to succeed in business they have been taught how to succeed in a job and know nothing about how to survive without one.
Lead from the front
Are you are up for the challenge? Do you recognise that you have what it takes to stand up and be an example for others to follow?
One of the secrets to success is to try something on a small scale and if you can make the idea work then expand on the idea. Closely associated with this is the idea of testing things carefully to see what is the best way at that time and in that situation to do something.
Some even suggest trying to make an idea work in a secluded place or behind the scenes so that you can test it and refine it before it is exposed to the world at large. To be honest that is often the secret behind the so-called overnight successes that we admire.
What does this mean in practise? It means setting up a small money making projects to see if the idea you have actually works. It means setting up pilot schemes that are used to test your ideas. It means setting up a small business in addition to the job you are already doing so to that you learn the practical skills and soft skills required to make a success of it.
Some would say that everyone, whatever their circumstances, should, embark on that kind of project so that they are better prepared to face an uncertain future. However, even after being out of work for a while it is not too late to start such a project. It might be a bit more challenging to do this and stay within the rules in terms of receiving benefits but it is not impossible.
The strange thing I have found is that most of those who I have come across who provide support for people starting up businesses have been employed by the business that was given a government grant to provide such training. I hasten to add some business owners act as volunteer mentors working on a one to one basis. At least their business experience is more up to date than that many of the other trainers and coaches I have met in the UK.
No wonder it is a struggle to see how effective the trainers I have come across in the past actually were because unless you have done it yourself it is not easy to lead others to prosperity