By Jaluum Herberts Luwizza

When I was growing up, we had a sticker on our fridge that read, “It takes the same energy to think small as it does to think big. So dream big and think bigger”. Yes, thinking big doesn’t take up more energy than it does to think small so why choose to think small.

I usually use the example of big companies when talking to start up founders but very many times I get this ‘but am not Coca Cola or Apple” reply. I remember some time back I was talking to the owner of a small cosmetic manufacturing business here and he said to me, “the things you are telling us to do are for the Movits, we haven’t yet reached there”.

I tried explaining to him that Movit didn’t start the way they are today and that at one point they were like him. All the big companies you know were small at some point. All the great men and women you know were no bodies at one point of their lives. What they had was the vision to become what they are today. They had a big dream and the will to become whom they saw in their dream.

The most important thing in every dream is the will to get up and go after the dream. You have to be doing small things in a big way if you can’t do big things because in the end it’s these small things that add up to make the big things. So you can’t be saying that certain things are for the big businesses and not your business unless you envision yourself growing big.

Big businesses are not big by accident. They are big because they intend to and do things in a big way or in a way that makes them big. They invest in growth (marketing, research, innovation e.t.c) and take resolute action to become or stay big.

The easiest way to become big is to pay attention to what the big companies are doing. The small animals that survive in the wild are those that hang around the big animals like giraffe which have the ability to see as far as other animals can’t see.

When they see the giraffe running for life, they don’t ask questions they just take off too because it only means there’s danger coming from a distance. Same thing with small companies, the ones that survive and grow are the ones that carefully study, follow the big players because big companies don’t make or take knee jerk decisions and action.

Everything they do is thought out and well researched so for example if most are moving online, don’t ask why you need to or think it’s only for big companies, follow suit. Following suit doesn’t mean doing exactly what they do because you may not have deep pockets like they do or have the resources they have at their disposal.

If for example MTN spends 50m to do their website, you don’t need to collect the same amount to have a site, you can find away to have a good website for your business too at 1m or even lower. The essence here is having an online presence like they do.

If Coca Cola spends 100m every month to advertise, it doesn’t mean wait till you can also spend that much to start marketing. See how you can use 1m or even 100k whatever you can raise as a marketing budget to promote and market your business as the essence here is making sure your getting the word about your business and what it does or how it can solve people’s problems out there constantly and consistently as people buy from businesses they know or based on what they don’t know. No one will buy from you if they don’t know you or that you even exist or do what you do.

So start small, start with what you have and build on. When comparing yourself with big companies it’s about the principles not the costs involved in executing these principles. Very many people have failed to realise their dreams of starting a business because they think they should start big.

If I should start a supermarket then I must do it with the budget of Capital Shoppers so they think, which is wrong. If capital shoppers had waited to also start as big as Walmart then we wouldn’t have capital shoppers anyway.

And where would you be drawing your comparisons from!? So think big but start small and build the dream otherwise it will remain just that, a dream. Remember no relationship starts with a wedding or as a marriage. You start from day one as total strangers and start knowing each other by selling yourselves to each other, and then building slowly till you have a meaningful, reasonable and legally binding union or marriage.

Start Now, start with what you have and build to growth. THINK BIG BUT START SMALL.

Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is writer, speaker and business consultant with YOUNG TREP

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