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Top 3 Competencies You need to survive Starting/Running Your Startup

I spent 13 years in Corporate jobs working with top names in Saudi Arabia and it was nice and comfortable. In 2016, I got a severe case of high ambition and decided to start my own business and leave the comforts of a steady paycheck and later my own home in Dammam to start my own HR Consulting business in Riyadh. I honestly did not know what was ahead of me except high unrealistic ambition. Trust me, you need that to start a business, otherwise, stay where you are. Nobody told me about the competencies I needed to manage myself. I listened to a lot of books, read many articles that focused on the business aspects such as marketing, sales, cash flow, etc. I forgot to look internally and think of what I needed to work on to ensure a smooth(ish) journey. I will save you the trouble and share them with you so you can be better prepared than I did back then.


Uncertainty Galore: In business there are too many uncertainties laying around in every corner. Even if you been awarded a great project with a big client, does not mean you will get paid nor the client will collaborate with you to get the job done. We have been awarded a consulting project with a big client in Riyadh. When we started, it was exciting times for us to land such a big contract in our first year. Little did I know the political wars taking place internally within the client organization which caused project delays (and then payment delays), and more importantly many sleepless nights thinking about what will happen next. As an entrepreneur, you need to have thick skin. You have to have strong footing and conduct your proper due diligence and if it goes south, you need to learn how to stay calm. (I wasn't calm, ask my team!)Bi-Polarity of Expectations: This is a funny one. In business, you need to be bi-polar. Yes, I said it. You need to have very high expectations (to keep going) and in the same time be ready for very low events (to ensure readiness). This is crucial, you cannot start or continue in business if you are thinking the worst all the time. You will demoralize yourself and your team. You need to have high energy and passion and have very high expectations that will energize you and your team. HOWEVER, you also need to be ready for the worst case scenarios (cancellation of a project, project delivery going bad, your best team member leaving you). When you are ready, you will not be as crushed as you'd expect and more importantly, when that happens your team will be looking for your guidance and light. That's when you flash your high expectations cards. I told you, you need to be bi-polar.



You cannot succeed alone: One thing you develop when you have a stable job is to not care about others and get the job done and go home. At least that's what I did. Corporate companies these days focus on individual performance and in time people loose touch with others. However, when you're in business it is a whole different world. You need to network and collaborate like your life depends on it. I had to learn how to network with people and how to keep in touch to ensure that I am (and my business is) not forgotten. I actually started a schedule where I would meet two to three people per evening. I'd stay in the same coffee shop and meet those high caliber people and try to figure how to work together with them. (If you can OD over coffee, I would have gotten that :)) Some of the best ideas and projects were the results of those conversations. I realized the importance of the network to make things happen in your business.

These are the top 3 key competencies which I had to learn the hard way. I believe you need to be agile to learn new skills and competencies when running your own business. I will leave you with one final thought. Consider your entrepreneurial journey as a personal journey to learn new skills which usually happens through failures. That's way you need to fail fast and keep going forward. That's the only way you can going.

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