Six entrepreneurial lessons, learned the hard way
Johannesburg - King Price Insurance is one of the greatest entrepreneurial success stories of our times. It was founded by Gideon Galloway with a team of 13 back in 2012, and barely a decade later, it’s one of the most recognised brands in South Africa.
But as Galloway himself will tell you, the road to success didn’t come easy. He had to sell his house and car to self-fund the dream. His friends and family thought he was crazy. And he had to knock on the doors of 42 different investors before he found someone who bought into his vision.
There were also numerous wrecks alongside the road on his entrepreneurial journey. Just as King Price has become a household name, his other ventures like Brandbunny.com, Salvage City, 13th Floor Logistics and 30Thirty Carriers sank without a trace.
“That’s the thing about entrepreneurship. Many people think the word ‘entrepreneur’ is synonymous with success. They don’t see the skinned knees, the hard work, the effort to get up when you fall and try again,” says Galloway.
As we prepare to mark World Entrepreneur’s Day on 21 August, here are Galloway’s lessons for entrepreneurs out there. Most have been learned the hard way.
“When I was young, I started lots of small companies that didn’t really take off. In fact, they drained my energy. So, I asked myself what these companies would be like in 10 years’ time. And then I focused my energy on the ideas that would have a long-term payoff. Hello, King Price,” says Galloway.
Nothing is constant! If plan A doesn’t cut it, roll out plan B or C. Or even plan F. If problems crop up, fix them and move on. “At King Price, we often say that we built the ship while we were already sailing, but we’ve weathered all the storms that have come our way. And that’s what entrepreneurs do every day,” says Galloway.
Done is better than perfect
Do you need a perfect solution, or do you need a solution now? Sometimes, a quick decision or a speedy implementation will be more important than a perfect solution that’s taken too long to refine. The trick is knowing where the balance lies.
Have a vision and values
Knowing what you want to be in the future guides what you do every day. But it’s just as important to know who you are, what you stand for, what makes you get out of bed in the morning and what your bigger purpose is (and no, making money doesn’t count as a purpose). Build on those values to start planning for your future.
“The most challenging skill to learn is the ability to manage your emotions. In other words, not only being aware of your feelings, but knowing how to deal with them. This entails detaching from a situation, being aware of your thoughts and the emotions behind your thoughts, and only then reacting. It’s a key skill for these crazy times and it’s a lot harder than it sounds,” says Galloway.
“If I knew back in 2012 what I know now, chances are I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed and started this business. The risks were enormous. But we did. Now I can’t wait to get out of bed every morning and continue making a difference. And ultimately, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about. Get out of bed. Make a difference. Repeat.”