It all starts with idea. Everything does. The #UgBlogWeek, this very blog post, and the platform that has now been christened a blogosphere…it all takes is an idea. A eureka moment strikes and the rest becomes history. Sometimes you put your mind to the task; sending it back and forth because you have been given an assignment with a looming deadline. Until it registers something, you do not let your mind wander off. On such days, when your mind has been plagued by a perceptive drought, you wish you could rent another head and get over with the task that has hang around your neck on end.
But on a good day, you do not go through any of this unrelenting mental trek to come up with a masterstroke. It happens by default. Your mind gets impressioned in the midst of a wandering marathon without any intent bares a brilliant idea. Take for instance, you’re seated in painfully slow traffic jam. The kind where you switch the engine off and envy pedestrians strolling past you with imaginary smirks written all over their faces. In the first place you didn’t want to be sent on this errand because you knew traffic would slowly bleed out of the central business district at this hour but you had no choice.
It’s one of those hot afternoons in Kampala with hot air that smacks dust all over your face. Your palms cannot help it but get sweaty. Which makes the steering wheel messy. You wish you could drive without taking control of the wheels but SMART-cars are still a futuristic product. Suddenly, you wonder if there are steering wheel covers on the market that can let you enjoy a drive on a hot afternoon without constantly forking out a handkerchief from your pockets to dry your palms. Steering wheel covers that soak up sweat, and dust. Traffic starts flowing just when you pull out your phone to ask Google. That thought is put to bed when traffic picks up pace.
Hours later, when darkness has turned up to work the nightshift, you will yourself to sleep. Your body is drained but your mind isn’t beaten. It won’t clock out just yet. You have one item on your day’s agenda it had postponed for the eleventh hour when everything is now out of the way. It requests you to ask Google if the cozy steering wheel covers you thought about earlier in the day exist. Grumpily, you pick up your phone and punch the question into Google’s mouth. Google says there are lots of covers, some of which can spare you the distress you have always suffered from using synthetic leather covers. But, they come at a premium. With these answers, your mind finally budges and allows you to sleep.
For the next few weeks, your mind is flooded with the burning desire to get your hands on a steering wheel cover that matches up to the task whenever it gets hot. You cannot help but imagine how many people are suffering a similar problem. Your moment of eureka finally arrives on the back of the distress you have suffered all this while; why don’t you make the steering wheel covers and make this discomfort a thing of the past? What would it take?
You now have a solution. But what to do with it! How are you going to get idea out of your head and make it a reality? Your mind thinks it will take an arm and a leg to see the idea come to life. But you’re living in desperate times. You’re fresh out of university with no job (yet) and thus no income to pull off such a thing. For once you come to terms with the real life meaning of scarcity of resources.
A year ago, you had setup a rainy day fund when you came by a windfall. It was a gift that came at an unlikely moment. Rather than blow it on life’s pleasures, you kept it somewhere and it has accumulated interest over time. Your rainy day fund is your best bet if you’re going to go from idealist to realist. But there’s a hitch; you have often drawn out monies from the rainy day fund whenever that day came in recent months. There’s still money to be redeemed out of it but not the substantial sums to make you enterprising. You’re between a hard place and a rock. You’re scarcely resourceful; you have a lot of ideas (and hope) but very little beyond that to make them a reality.
It’s in that moment that you first develop cold feet. Your wits start doubting your ability to pull this off. You start decrying your lack of capital. You fear even if you put together these monies and started working on the idea, you would still fail halfway through because you think you cannot sustain it. The only way to make it work now is if you get a partner. You must now sell this idea and the vision you have to potential partners.
Luckily, the first person you approach is impressed with the idea. It takes no time before she catches your drift. For the next few weeks, she joins you on the quest for glory. The challenges are innumerable but you soldier on. You start registering progress. Within weeks, you have the first samples. Prototypes that make it clear what was formerly an idea is near completion and about become a reality. It all feels surreal. But the real work is just starting. The prototype is blemished. You have to go back to the drawing board.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. You grow impatient and develop cold feet again. How to fix the flaws in the prototype becomes a daunting task. It further dents your already dented pockets. You’re now riding on the hope of your business partner that it’s going to work out. She takes the front seat and runs the show for the next few weeks until the flaws are fixed and you’re ready to finally launch on the market.
When you finally launch. It is without festivity or even the slightest of mayhem. You’re happy to finally have the product ready for sale but your feet have long gone cold. You don’t know how the market will receive a new product made in Uganda from entirely Ugandan products by little known people. In the lead up to the launch, you engaged a few people who appeared excited about the product but now that you have it ready, their interest in it and pockets seem to have developed cold feet too. After weeks of no single sale, your fears are confirmed, the market will not fall for your product easily.
However, it’s only natural to fear the unknown. Developing cold feet is human nature. The market is simply reacting as you have reacted since you first got this idea. Even when you thought about sharing your woes about starting a business and creating a brand through the unfolding #UgBlogWeek, you had fears on whether this was the right content to be running on your blog. But the #UgBlogWeek is running under no theme so you figured why not tell your struggles of the recent months that were dotted with constant fear throughout the week?