Going on a Journey

Christopher Columbus was an explorer, navigator and coloniser. He completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and his efforts to establish permanent settlements on the island of Hispaniola initiated the European colonisation of the New World.

Columbus original intention was to enter the spice trade with Asia through identifying a new westward route. During his first voyage in 1492, he reached the New World instead of arriving at Japan as he had intended, landing on an island in the Bahamas archipelago that he named "San Salvador". (Source: Wikipedia)

In the eyes of harshest critics, Columbus has totally missed the point (in fact, he ended up in the West instead of reaching Japan which is a part of East Asia). In our modern day and age, such a scenario would rarely happen since Google Maps can accurately track our position and lead us to our destination via the Global Positioning System (GPS) without much of a fuss. 

For most of us, getting lost is not quite the norm experience. However, if you happen to be a business owner, I believe you would definitely be able to resonate with occasions where you cannot seem to find your way or determine which is the best path to take when you arrive at the cross roads.

When we first started on the journey of entrepreneurship, there was a clear vision, a world-conquering strategy, a foolproof action plan and sufficient resources. Things start to get rough once the boat starts to set sail. We have identified 3 common scenarios that business owners would experience at some point of their journey:

1) Lost sight of the destination

There is no land in sight over the vast horizon of blue ocean. Usually this scenario starts to set in when you are some distance away from the harbour of origin (about 2-3 years into the business).

State of Emotions: Feeling discouraged to carry on and doubts are starting to set in. Original destination looks too far off and you have spent way too much resources without arriving there. Should you change course or destination? Should you quit?

2) Unsure about directions

The landscape did not look like what you had envisioned at all and there are no significant landmarks to tell you where you are currently.

State of Emotions: Feeling insecure about whether you are on the right track or undecided which route to take. There seems to be many paths and trails to take. Shall I take the tested and proven routes? Or the off-beaten dirt track? Or carve out a new path?

Photo credit: Sam Hoong (Disney California)

Photo credit: Sam Hoong (Disney California)

3) Navigating the stormy seas

The boat looks pretty certain to go under and everyone on board is prepared to be shipwrecked. Your cashflow is getting tight and money in the bank is running low. Your product has failed to take off after spending huge marketing dollars. You have failed to acquire enough customers to grow steadily. 

State of Emotions: These are turbulent times, with your heart in the mouth every moment. Frustration and panic may set in to throw you further off the course. 

Up to this point, we are certain that most business owners are able to resonate with some, if not all of these scenarios. Many would be wondering, what do I need to do to get out of these situations?

We will attempt to provide some "recommendations" later on, but at this very moment, we can all take heart and be assured that we are not alone on this journey and knowing that despite "getting lost", Columbus was regarded as one of the greatest explorers in history. 

Keep Calm and Carry On!

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Contributed by: Bili