Allon Raiz of Raizcorp gives the low-down on whether entrepreneurs are born or made.
First, answer this: Would you wish the pandemic on anyone, including your worst enemy? It doesn’t matter either way, says Allon. Because it did happen to your worst enemy. It happened to everyone.
Mark Sham (Cheerleader of Small Businesses) asks Allon Raiz (Godfather of Small Businesses) where he’s at. Is he also stuck in an emotional lockdown after the difficulties of the last two years?
His answer is a bit surprising.
“I feel like it’s never been better. We’ve been down and the only way is up… Covid-19 levelled the playing field and made us all tougher.”
When you hit rock bottom, how do you deal with it?
Well, Allon locked himself in his office with a bottle of whiskey and wouldn’t come out until he’d found a way through the pandemic. He called his long-time mentor and asked how he should handle the situation.
“How the fuck should I know?” his mentor replied. Now what?
In difficult moments, you can look for the lifeboats to come and save you or you can cast an eye to the horizon, to spot the ship. Your call.
Allon recommends the ship.
You know you’re creating value, but sometimes it’s hard. Not wrong, just hard. That’s where grit comes in. But how do you keep your grit supply in surplus? Collaboration. Finding “like-minded people,” as Mark says. In other words: networking.
Strategy and networking are critical. Of course. But, says Allon, “If you want to impress anyone, just put ‘strategic’ in front of the word.” So it’s often shorthand for “nothing much”.
If you’re a small business owner you strategise with yourself, right? The inner dialogue goes something like:
Me: I think I should cut this product from my range. It’s not really selling.
Also me: Okay, sounds good. Let’s do it!
End of strat session.
Big problem. Because you need “rigour in your thinking,” says Allon. And this is where a network or a mentor comes in. They are there to talk through your ideas. To say, “Well, have you thought about how cutting XYZ could do this? Or that?”
That’s not to say strat sessions will solve everything. As you know, moments of sheer panic are par for the course. But it’s all about taking risks regardless and having the grit to see them through.
Allon’s strategic shower routine helps him with this. He recites four affirmations each day: I MAY, I CAN, I WILL, I AM.
I MAY means: This is my right. I’m allowed to pursue this.
I CAN means: I have the ability to pursue this.
I WILL means: I have the will to pursue this and, fuck it, I will!
I AM means: I am becoming what I envision myself to be.
Just as the Ignite event is coming to an end, Allon closes with a screamer. An audience member asks this age-old question: “Are entrepreneurs born or made?” Allon explains that a genuine entrepreneur has these five attributes:
If you can’t, you die.