Photo Credit: Jean-François Chénier
Regular HTNet visitors will know that I’ve left my comfortable job as an Analyst Programmer to venture into the world of entrepreneurship. I’ve taken the first steps to set up a private limited company and the process will take around ten days.
Under Malaysian law, a private limited company must have at least two directors. I’ve approached a close friend to join me in setting up the company one and a half months ago. This friend of mine knows next to nothing about IT. However, he has wide experience in marketing from credit cards to cars and property among other things.
He wants a 50% stake in the venture and I have no problems with that. All I wanted in return was for him to cough up 50% of the starting capital, which he agrees is a fair deal. Nevertheless, as lunch break of my last day at work comes, I have nothing concrete from him at all.
I sent him an SMS asking if he’s still committed to the plan, and informing him that I’ll be meeting my tax/account advisor the next morning to iron out the details of registering the company. I got no response from him until 8:18pm, a good eight hours and eight minutes from when I sent my inquiry.
Fortunately, I’ve already foreseen the possibility that he may not deliver his part of the deal and had already laid out a contingency plan involving taking my brother in and working on a commission based package to contribute to his remuneration.
My brother and my friend had a lot in common. Both have similar strengths and weaknesses, although my brother has a slight edge in terms of IT literacy. Both are fiercely independent and have something I don’t: network.
I can build almost any IT solution known to man, but I’m almost totally clueless on how to market this expertise. Hence my need to have marketing-savvy people to back me up.
This experience has taught me the value of being dynamic.
- You can’t totally rely on yourself
- You need to rely on others
- Some people are reliable all the time
- Some people are reliable sometimes
- Some people are totally unreliable
- Some people are reliable in certain situations
- Unreliable people can be transformed to reliable people
- Reliable people can become unreliable
I’ve said this many times before and will continue to say so: Machines are more reliable than people almost all the time. But you need reliable people to maintain the machines.
That said, the main lesson learned is that nothing is consistent, hence the title of this post. Your best laid out plans can be torn by the simplest of variations. Which is why it is important to have multiple plans and contingencies in place that can be executed as and when required.
This is the first lesson I learned in my pursuit to become an entrepreneur and I’m very sure that I’ll face many more “refresher courses” on this very topic in the future.
To be safe, just stick to the old adage; Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The basket may seem perfect, but believe me, there’s rarely ever such a thing as perfection.
Just take all challenges gracefully. I’ll still be seeing that friend of mine who didn’t get to be my business partner, in fact our next scheduled meeting is this Friday night. We’ll get along fine because there’s nothing personal between us. It’s just business.
Thanks for reading this rant of mine. I needed an outlet and I believe that everyone can learn the lessons of my experience. If you have similar tales to share, please drop a comment below.