My friend and I started a business together and things didn’t go well. We trusted his sister, who was our connection to some imports and we lost everything when she brought in a consignment that was useless to us. Now we are both broke. Personally, I lost all my savings so I have to start life from scratch. Things had started picking up after I got a three-month contract but now with this virus period, I doubt my contract will be renewed. I have no one to turn to and nothing to show for all my hard work. I feel very bitter towards these two people because they have moved on with their lives. I feel stuck and I keep going back to the point I trusted them, wishing I could change that. How do I move on?
What the readers say:
Accept the reality of the situation in which you are. Whereas it will be difficult for you, given that you feel cheated, which other practical options do you have? You have a contract to concentrate on. From it, you can plan on your next landing without necessarily always looking at your shadow and feeling overwhelmed. Look ahead, there are rays of light. Also remember a number of successful businesses failed many times before they picked up. Simply forget about the past and move on.
Dear friend, I am sorry for what happened to you. I believe that in life we have to fail and try again. It doesn't matter how many times you have failed. What matters is that you get up and stand on your feet. As Shakira sang, 'birds don't just fly they fall down and get up again.' Look how far you've come, don't beat yourself up. You have done your best. Be proud of yourself, don't compare yourself to others, everyone has his own destiny. You can't change what has already happened, instead let it be a fueling gear for your future plans. Meanwhile, find ways to start again. Remember, never trust blindly. I wish you all the best.
Eric, sorry for the financial loss you encountered. In business, we lose and gain alternately. Business, actually, has two terms: profit or loss. There are certain times in business that you have to pump personal money into it to see it running. Business does well when it is run by the proprietor or better still by one who is employed but under strict supervision. Run the business as a society or as an individual, never partner as friends. You must have lost some grip at some point. Friendships are the worst venom for any business. They bring down multi-billion projects to the ground. The global pandemic has really taught so many investors very hard lessons, me included. We should always venture into business that can also be run from home. Yes, after the virus, it will be a bit difficult to carry on normally but life must go on.
I must commend you for stepping out and venturing into business. We have many business people with brilliant ideas in their heads but they cannot master the courage to actualise these ideas.
I am also sorry for the loss, but such is business, unless you are reading dishonesty from your partner. If not, then this could still have happened even with you being involved in the purchase. This is not to discourage you. Many times, a business venture is presented to us in a biased way. You are either told how profitable it is and how you are going to make a killing or how you are going to make losses. The reality is that business is a mix of both at different proportions, at different times.
There are more intricate aspects of business than just buying stock at a price to sell it at another. You need to be on point with your timing and pricing, among other factors. It seems this was your first attempt and both of you were novices. It is wise to have someone you can trust to walk with you. As much as possible, get involved in all the steps at the initial stages. It is also prudent to have a written agreement with a business partner where each one of you know what they are accountable for.
Take this as a learning experience and move on. With a global pandemic in the mix, this has brought a lot of uncomfortable adjustments for everyone. So hang in there, daybreak is coming. Meanwhile, identify a business mentor, and join online business clubs and forums. Use this time to equip yourself with requisite knowledge. Be safe.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology
Eric, such is life and, more so, in the life of the business. The business has one general the underlying principle and that is for every investment there are three possible outcomes; one, the investor could get the money he is looking for and make a profit; two, the investor may get back his investment but not make any money (breaking even), and three, the investor could as a result of one or more factors lose part or their entire investment. Everyone who has been in the business will tell you that those are common phases in business and every business person has faced each of these but they don’t give up when things do not work out for them rather they rise up, dust themselves and give it several more attempts until they make the much-desired profits.
As you have found out, there are many things that lead to losses in business. Some of these we have control over and others we don’t have any control over. When things don’t always work out despite the frustrations, we should not beat ourselves up too hard. The most important thing in business is to keep learning the lessons as you go and learning to either do things differently or to do different things.
Business requires patience, hard work and a strong spirit that does not give up easily. The most surprising thing is that there is always a way out. Even now that you are not sure about your contract and source of income, one way or the other, you will find a path that will get you back in business soon. This path is always there for those who seek it but very elusive for those that are weak at heart. It may involve getting into debt or putting everything at risk again but with persistence, it always pays off. Business is not for the faint-hearted but it rewards those that are strong-willed and patient. It is very rare for one to start a business and it succeeds the first time.
Simon Anyona is a relationships counselor