The way of Business: Time, Adversity and Opportunity
In business, no matter how big or small, we can almost always be guaranteed of three fundamental things that will happen. In fact, these things are so guaranteed to happen, we can almost call them “the laws of business”, no different to the laws of physics. However, because calling something a law can get confusing, let’s call them the Tao instead. Luckily, TAO also happens to be the handy acronym we will use. Let’s start with the first:
It takes time to build a business. It takes time to get customers. In fact, there are no overnight successes. Ideas are just ideas until someone makes it happen, and that takes time. More importantly, no matter how hard you try to make something happen, some time will have to pass before it happens. So, by definition, the first principle of business is time.
It’s hard to build a business. That statement is so true it hurts. If you’re trying to open up a restaurant, to building the next Facebook, there can never be a truer word spoken other than it will be hard to make it happen. Competition is adversity. Regulation is adversity. Hiring employees is hard. Even if you haven’t experienced adversity now, you will at some point. So, the second principle of business is adversity.
Lastly, there is always going to be an opportunity for you in the business wold, otherwise you wouldn't have done it in the first place. There are challenges along the way, but there is almost always some form of opportunity that comes out of the challenge.
How do we use this in business?
If every event that occurs in business can be separated into one of these three categories, we can understand what it takes to be successful in business a little bit easier. If you encounter an obstacle in time, it may be an opportunity, or it could just be a chance for you to overcome adversity. By reframing these events in business, we can start to ask ourselves “how can I learn from this?” rather than saying “why me?”.
A Final Word
There are no overnight successes. Running a business is a hard road, paved with obstacles. This doesn’t mean success will never happen, but it’s important to recognise that it can happen with time, adversity and opportunity.
The next big thing is probably happening right now, and with a bit of luck and under the right circumstances it could happen right here. All it takes is time, adversity and opportunity. Remember the Tao next time you encounter a problem. It could be the way forward.