KIUNGA: It takes consistency to master a skill or build great brands

A story is told that one day the Spanish born artist Pablo Picasso one of the greatest artists of 20th century was accosted by a woman in the market. The woman pulled out a piece of paper and excitedly said, “Mr Picasso, I am of one of your great fans. Please, could you do a little drawing for me?”

Picasso gladly agreed and quickly etched out a beautiful piece of art for her. He then smiled as he handed it back to her. “That will be a million dollars.”

“But Mr Picasso, “the woman protested, it only took you 30 seconds to do this little masterpiece.”

“My good woman,” Picasso laughed, “It took me 30 years to do that masterpiece in 30 seconds.”

More often we raise an eyebrow when experienced and successful professional such as doctors, lawyers, trainers and public speakers charge an arm and a leg for few minutes’ service.

What we really forget is what it has cost them to be able to deliver an excellent product within a short time with apparent ease.

This story underscores persistence and time factor as twin elements of success in any undertaking in life. Most achievements are made after a considerable amount of time spent consistently focusing on a goal.

Despite overwhelming evidence that there is no shortcut to prosperity and that experience, a key ingredient of success is a function of time, human beings will always fall for ideas and scheme that promise fast results.

Mastery of any skill requires consistency and hard work. During this time anticipate challenges and be prepared for it.

Unfortunately most people only plan to succeed and not to fail. Planning to fail does not mean expecting failure. It means planning and knowing what you will do when things do not go as planned. When you start a business, you may not immediately win customers or offer the best service in the market but you will improve over time until you become the best and gain acceptance.

I remember some years back when my mother sent me to buy “omo” the dominant washing detergent in the market then. I found it was out of stock in the village shop and somehow the shopkeeper persuaded me to take another new detergent called sunlight, which he said was equally good.

My mother would hear none it. I had to return it, with clear instructions to find Omo in another shop or go back with the money. Today it is another story the Sunlight that was rejected years ago is one of the preferred detergents at home.

Great brands are a result of painstakingly hard work and meeting customers’ demands over an appreciable period of time in a way that creates trust and loyalty. During this time mistakes, setbacks and failures do occur but one must focus on continuous improvements in spite of all odds.

Looking at successful entrepreneurs, you can easily brainwash yourself into thinking that customers and money flow into their lives freely.

The truth is some of them went for months or years without reporting profit but are always reporting progress and new insights on how to get better.

When running a new business, understanding your customer’s needs, continually improving yourself as a person in terms of acquisition of new skills and experience improving your products and services and winning customer trust and approval ought to be more important than quick profit.

This is the sure foundation of any enterprise. Profits will flow in once you master the basics of your business and customers have gained trust in you and your products. This takes time and consistence and there is no shortcut whatsoever.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Entrepreneurial Journey: From Employment to Business.