Swimming With the Sharks in the Business World (4 Strategies to Swim Effectively)

Many years ago, as a junior consultant in my first job, I had a conversation with one of our biggest clients. This guy was the co-founder of one of the biggest eateries in Nigeria; he also has stakes in many other profitable businesses. The conversation came as a result of my insatiable quest to find the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

During the conversation, this brilliant and successful entrepreneur told me that he succeeded by learning how to swim with the sharks. According to him, the entrepreneurial world is full of sharks. And these sharks will not hesitate to devour any fish that doesn’t know how to swim. For him to succeed, he took his time, studied the market, sharpened his swimming skills over time and plunged into the ocean of entrepreneurship.

After the conversation, I found that this entrepreneur succeeded in swimming effectively with the sharks by following these four wonderful strategies listed below:

  1. Be organized. Think Ahead

A strong organizational skill is one of the salient skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. There is no going back on this important skill. You must know what you want and work towards achieving it. You must define your target market from the outset. I find it fey to realise during business consultation sessions that many young people want to succeed in business without great organizational and customer identification skills.

A good organizational skill requires you to identify and differentiate what is important from what is urgent. You must also know when to pay attention to each of these when it is appropriate. In the business world, importance is not the same as urgency. What is important might not be urgent. And vice versa.

You must also learn to differentiate your needs from your wants. Success in business comes from understanding the difference between these two. Organizing and prioritizing your needs will help you plan and think ahead. It will also help you spend time with people who need to succeed in your industry as much as you do.

  1. Avoid Time Stealers

You cannot swim effectively with the sharks in the business world if you consistently enjoy the company of time wasters. The best these things can do for you is to steal, kill or destroy your time and great plans thereby prolonging your journey to success in your industry. Time stealers are not just people; they could be anything. And from experience, the three biggest things that steal our time are procrastination, indecision and perfectionism.

Many revolutionary ideas that could change the world are still being pushed to tomorrow. And because they are consistently pushed to tomorrow, they will never be brought to reality. Procrastination is a killer of beautiful ideas that could add value and meaning to life.

Indecision is another time stealer that must be avoided. My entrepreneur friend said that when he decided to launch into business, he didn’t have all the information. He just had the necessary information to launch out. Today, many more intelligent and industrious people who allowed indecision to keep them from launching out are nowhere close to him.

Perfectionism is also another time stealer. You must not have the perfect time to start your business. You just have to make the time perfect.

  1. Be Realistic

‘Before I started my business, I was realistic to myself. I chose a business that I am inherently passionate about and set goals that I can reach. I didn’t just follow what everyone was doing. I also checked what could always sell in Nigeria. I realized that not every business can fly in Nigeria, but the food industry is a necessity that would always stay.’

Being realistic is a sure way to succeed in today’s highly complex business environment. Your ideas and visions must be rooted in your reality. As a modern entrepreneur, your business must be geared towards what you can attain otherwise you will burn out in the long run. No one has an unlimited supply of emotional and mental energy.

It is great to have awesome desires. But without a real plan to attain those desires, they are just wishes. And wishes have never changed the world or satisfied a customer; action does.

  1. Be guided by great values.

The success of any business empire is highly dependent on the values set by the founder. Values are guiding mechanisms that give you the ability to take an action or not. it is what keep employees in check. Without great organizational values, a business cannot define its tradeoffs.

As a modern entrepreneur, do have good organizational values?

Are they really defined?

In order to swim effectively with the sharks in the business world, today’s entrepreneurs must strategically follow the principles outlined in this article. The business world is tough and harsh, only entrepreneurs who master these principles can swim successfully with the sharks without being swallowed.



is a thinker, content developer and business development strategist. He is the Principal of Richard & Malcolm Consulting; a business development company. Richard enjoys working with entrepreneurs and leaders pursuing transformational change for their organizations. He is the author of two books – The RICH Theory and Advance. Connect with him on twitter @RichardChilee

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