Life's Lessons

Meeting the Challenges of a growing a Business; Lessons from a Donkey

Sometimes in business, you have to know when to throw in your cards. Some call it quitting. I call it temporal withdrawal. –Azupogo Urbanus Wedaaba.

We live in rapidly changing times, especially for businesses. Hence, the need for businesses to adapt to entirely new marketing channels and demands. Experiencing challenges in business is not anything out of the usual. In fact, every growing business faces a range of challenges but it is important to note that, as you grow your business, different problems and opportunities will demand different solutions. In order to overcome these challenges, the entrepreneur must have this great asset called CREATIVITY. In business, there will always be limited resources, but there is unlimited Creativity.

Recognizing and overcoming these challenges is essential for your business growth. It takes creativity, determination, and discipline to face any category of challenges. In this article, I would be discussing the attitudinal part of facing challenges. As your business continues to grow and thrive, there will be times you will experience great difficulties which will be capable of crippling your business. It is crucial for you to take the necessary step to salvage the business while you keep your current clientele intact. One of the most asked questions is: What do you do when a new business isn’t going as planned? Do you fold up? Or would you continue to run the business despite the challenges? If you close down the business then you fail to be an entrepreneur. On the other hand, care must be taken not to create additional problems for the business. So, what do you do?

I am glad to share my experiences and strategies that have made me a successful young entrepreneur. Over the years, I have always told young entrepreneurs not to rush in launching their business. I have this quote; “If you are not ready to launch a business idea, do not launch it. What do I mean by this? It is not about who is the first to implement or establish or launch an idea. It is about one who would be able to nurse and sustain it”—Azupogo Urbanus Wedaaba. Having listened to several business speakers, I have noticed a common message that is being propagated to upcoming entrepreneurs – “Launch your idea before someone else’ does”. That can be considered as ‘partial truth’. In my journey as an entrepreneur, I have met several people who are starting products and business I dreamed of. That, however, would not and should not stop me from pursuing such an idea. We are in an era where innovation is very low, where almost every business idea you can ever think of is being pursued or has been pursued by one or more people. What matters, therefore, is not only the originality of your idea but also its uniqueness. This broadly talks about packaging, value addition, customer service incorporation among others (This will be the subject for another time).

“If you walk away – if you quit – quitting will become easier and easier for the rest of your life” ( Forbes, 2016). Failing businesses are sometimes signs of unpreparedness. A little preparedness could have done the magic. But the rush to launch a business idea and be the first usually does not help first-time business owners. A little preparedness could sometimes expose us to what would turn to be our worst trial and by seeking solutions, this would help us become wiser and ultimately stronger to face such challenges in the life of businesses.

The question still remains, what is the best thing to do when you are being faced with great difficulties? If you ever experience great difficulties after launching a business idea, I would advise you to withdraw the business temporally from the market. I call this putting a business on a low profile or temporal withdrawal (one of my favourite phrases) and subsequently go back to the drawing board.

What does putting a business on a low profile mean?

To put it simply, A position of a business characterized by a deliberate avoidance of prominence or publicity. It is a deliberate decision by the business owner to avoid publicity. The word deliberate is important as it boils down to attitude. Thus, having a no quitting attitude and humility. These two attributes tell you when to put a business on a temporal withdrawal and when to relaunch’ such a business. Don’t quit, REBUILD. Most young entrepreneurs out of pride refuse going back to the drawing board. This kills most businesses than anything.

What is this period characterized?

Although low profiled businesses are expected to avoid publicity, such businesses, however, should continue to serve their existing clientele. One of the greatest asset to any business is the business existing clientele. Everything must be done to keep your clientele intact. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to let go of a difficult client (Would be discussed Later). In other cases, some low profiled businesses can decide to close their doors entirely to new clients but may serve customers that find their way to them. In any of these instances, what is most important is making time to review your business strategy because this is the period you will get all the time and resources you will need to rethink and rebuild the business.

How can putting a business on a low profile help you face your challenges?

Sometimes, it may seem like you have implemented all the possible initiatives to make your idea a fruitful one, but all attempts seem not to be working. Going back to the drawing board affords you the time to learn from your mistakes, understand your market and rebrand for your target market. The most important activity during this period is spending enough time to understand your current challenges. Visiting existing clients would not be bad to consider. Reviews of existing clients can come in handy. It would inform you about the level of satisfaction of these clients and what needs to be done to improve on it. A market survey is also one important thing to consider during temporal withdrawals from the market. Despite hard times, remain open to new possibilities. You need to learn more and then remove the “L; to earn. This period gives you the chance to learn, analyze, strategize, and where possible rebrand. Effective leadership (attitude) will help you make the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future. Take pleasure in learning from your mistakes. Come out of every challenge stronger and poised for greatness. After every temporal withdrawal, your business Idea(s) should be sharpened, refined and repackaged for greatness in the existing competitive market.


I would love to end this piece with the story of the donkey. The donkey is not my favorite animal. Out of empathy, I learned to appreciate the donkey and have since learned several lessons from it. The donkey is one the animals that is mostly looked down upon. But the life of the donkey speaks otherwise. The donkey is not as stupid as we are made to believe. No messages of perseverance can be complete without making mention of the donkey. The life of the donkey provides lessons which serve as a panacea for handling the challenges that we are likely to encounter not only in our work environment, but also in life, and how to deal with them.

The following are excerpts of lessons taken from the Story of the donkey by Elewechi Okike. Read Story here.

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up. Sometimes the work environment can be hostile. But it’s up to you how you deal with it. You must know how to turn your trials into stepping-stones, your walls into bridges to cross over and your lemons into lemonade to refresh your spirit. It doesn’t matter what people think about you. It’s what you think about yourself and your capabilities that count. Although the donkey in the story was considered ‘old’ and of no use, it still had enough strength to shake off the heavy loads of sand shovelled on it. No one can tell you it’s over unless you say that to yourself.

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