It is a new year and many have set new goals, new visions, fresh aspiration and resurrected dying dreams. We start the year saying we are ready to take the world… we are ready for business. But are we really?

On New Years Day, I went out for a long walk. Along the way, I saw a car pull round the corner and hooted as he stopped. I watched to see why he was hooting and realised he was trying to get the attention of vulcanizer, one of those that set up on the roadside with a simple air machine. The vulcanizer had set-up his “stall” early that New Year’s morning. But as the man in the car continued to hoot, I realised the vulcanizer was nowhere to be found.

The car looked expensive and the driver was a white guy. I imagine that he would have been excited to see a vulcanizer “open for business” on New Year's day. The driver/owner of the car would probably have been happy to pay a premium and/or give the vulcaniser a handsome tip. But that vulcaniser would never know, because the guy drove off when the vulcanizer didn’t show up.

Many of us say we are open for business, and maybe even take some steps to indicate our readiness. Like the vulcaniser, we set up stall. Unfortunately, we fall short when it really matters. We are actually closed either physically or otherwise. Let's look at some practical examples:

  1. Your boss gives you a new assignment. You think this work is outside of job description. Therefore instead of putting in all your effort, you carry out the assignment half-heartedly. Little did you realise that your actions made your boss conclude that you are not ready for the promotion you were being considered for.
  2. You get an enquiry from a new client. He is asking for a product which sells for only N5k. You can’t really be troubled for such a small order, so you delay in responding. After waiting a few hours without a response from you, the potential customer found another supplier and ordered hundreds.
  3. You have set-up all the necessary contacts points for your business – email, mobile number, social media – all the works. However, once you set them up, you forget to check them for messages. Potential customers, who waited for responses for days went elsewhere.
  4. A new customer walks into your shop and instead of getting up to attend to him/her, you leave the customer to wander around and they eventually leave without realising that the product they were looking for was slightly hidden behind another product.

There are many other examples. So if you choose to open for business, BE OPEN – physically, psychologically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t play lip service to being open. Be fully engaged in the process and it will yield dividend. All the best in 2019.

Whether your start-up journey had a different or similar experience to ours, we would like to hear from you.

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