Do you have a big business idea? Just start

Saturday, September 21st, 2019 00:00 |
Business idea. Photo/Courtesy

Eric Rugara

Ayoung guy I know once said to me, “I want to start a YouTube channel.”  Five months later I asked him how his channel was coming along. He said it wasn’t. He never got started.

Today I want to talk to you about something deceptively simple but absolutely crucial for success of any kind.


About 2,500 years ago, a Chinese wise man said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Do you have an idea for a business, but you are worried it might not succeed? That’s great. There are so many people who want to do something, but they do not know what. 

At least you have an idea. That gives you an edge.

But you must turn the idea into action. 

Did you know that Facebook was originally a social network for students at Harvard University?

Did you know that Apple originally operated out of the garage of Steve Jobs’ parents’ house?

Did you know that our own Safaricom originally operated out of a three-bedroom flat at Norfolk?

Twitter’s history is no different. The social enterprise that hosts more than 326 million people made zero revenues in its infant years.

These four are today behemoths in their industries, yet they had such humble beginnings.

If Zuckerberg or Jobs had not decided to make the first step, where would they be today? 

There are many first steps along the way, many times when you will feel intimidated and daunted by the enormity of your task or goal. 

In the movie “We Bought a Zoo”, Matt Damon’s character espouses a profound philosophy: “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” 

All you need is the guts to take the first step, the bravery to take action, the chutzpah to run into the ring. Something great will come of it.

Action has its own magic. One thing always leads to another. 

In the beginning, you have to rely on your willpower. But as you go along, habit and muscle memory kick in. It becomes easier to act.

Your actions also compound. Consider that every flood is caused by drop after drop pouring and pouring. A huge mass of individual drops. Think of your actions in the same way.

Think of Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard, with a social network called “The Facebook” that catered for a few hundreds or thousands of users. Today, Facebook is at more than two billion users. Clearly, drops became a flood!

There is no way of knowing if your idea will be a success without starting. 

As the wahenga wisely told us, “Haba na haba hujaza kibaba (little plus little fills the whole).”

And as Albert Einstein also told us: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”

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