Entrepreneurialism 101 – The Importance of Patience When Growing a Business

It’s no secret that the world moves pretty fast, especially these days. Between access to immediate information and the ability for instant gratification, it’s not wonder that people seem less patient than ever. We want the things we crave and we want them now but many times, people forget how important patience is; especially when it comes to business.

When you first set out to grow your new entrepreneurial endeavour, you have big hopes and huge dreams, and you truly feel like the sky is the limit. You see the money signs swirling around in your head and you just KNOW this is going to be big. You set out for success, and you just have a feeling it will happen quickly.

Until it doesn’t.  Until you’re dropped on your head by reality and forced to realize that maybe your idea is going to take longer than expected to come to fruition. It’s at this point in your business (or in life) when the future is often decided. You have to choose, “Am I in this for the long haul or am I going to give up because it didn’t work out quickly enough for me?

They say patience is a virtue and in business, this is always the truth. Even the businesses that seemingly “get lucky” and blast off to growth within their first year, need to have patience as they continue to scale and reimagine their product or services, but the truth is, most businesses don’t hockey stick in their first year and many are a 10-year overnight success.

If you’ve decided to stick with your business and see it through, then one of the first things you need to do is get honest with yourself and decide to push forward no matter what. The truth is, in business, there are no shortcuts. Timelines are always going to change, goals will be adjusted, and deadlines will be extended but if you can come to terms with the lack of control you often have and instead trust the process, you will find that everything will work out for you.

The thing is new ideas take time. They call it crossing the chasm which means you’ll have your early adopters (always great for validation) on one side of the chasm with everyone else on the other.  Your mission as an entrepreneur and business owner is to get to the other side where your brand, your product, and your services are widely adopted. Sometimes, it can feel like you’ll never make it across, threatening to let it all go and beg for mercy as you spiral down but that’s when you need to continue pushing forward the most.

Most successful business owners will tell you that the secret to success is “never giving up.” Being scrappy, continuing to fight, digging deep and most of all having patience. And of course, having patience doesn’t mean changing your path altogether but instead, it means continuing to grow, develop and integrate even when it feels like the needle might not be moving much (or at all).

It’s like losing weight. You often will not see the results right away but if you continue to show up, do the work and eat right, eventually, your commitment will start showing. Maybe at first, you’re the only one who recognizes it but soon enough everyone around you can see the changes. But you have to be patient because it’s you against yourself. You need to keep showing up and putting the work in even on days when it might be really hard, when you might be extremely tired or when you feel like nothing you’re doing is even working.

That’s what growing a business is like. You need to show up and do those things that no one else can see, over and over and over, until finally, the world takes notice. It takes grit to decide you’re not giving up or giving in and an abundance of trust in yourself and your business but if you’ve put the work in, validated your idea, worked to get the product-market fit, and continue to make even small steps forward then you’re on the right track.

So many times, people undervalue the importance of patience in business and it’s easy to see why. Sometimes the reward seems to far away and the need for a win or that instant gratification we all crave can whisper in our ear that it’s best to throw in the towel. When that happens just whisper back that your patience will win this battle and keep going.

If you’ve been feeling like success is not coming quickly enough or that your big payday is taking too long, it’s always best to re-evaluate your business (just to be sure you actually are on the right track). Reach out to mentors and advisors in your network, improve your processes, and ensure that you’ve put everything in place so that you can come away as a winner. If you’ve put that work in and you continue to hustle, know that the obstacles ahead may be many, the road may be winding, and the journey will be tiring but the more you trust the process and the more you believe that all your hard work will pay off, the more patient you will ultimately become.

In a world where time moves quickly and it seems like everyone around us is moving forward while we’re standing still, remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Moving slowly toward the finish line does not mean you will fail and most of the time, it’s those businesses that grow slowly who grow the biggest. It’s those businesses that remain patient while digging in their heels and never giving up that win the ultimate prize of success, no matter if it takes them a year or a decade to make it happen.

Don’t let our fast-moving, instantly gratifying world ever get you down, in life or in business. Be patient, put in the work, and grow a little bit every day and soon enough you’ll reap the rewards you’ve dreamed of from the very beginning in your personal and professional life.

by Shannon Ferguson