Running a business right now seems like a Herculean task to many entrepreneurs. If I receive a dollar every time I get a distress call from business owners who seem to have run out of ideas on how to navigate forward, I should be quite loaded. The high cost of operations, difficulty in getting adequate funding and high turnover rate of manpower all combine to increase the costs of product and services. Add that to a market that has diminishing buying power and it is a real chaos for the business owner.

Entrepreneurship is a journey marked by exhilarating highs and daunting lows. It’s a rollercoaster ride where setbacks often seem to lurk around every corner. Yet, it’s in these moments of adversity that true resilience is forged, and the most valuable lessons are learned.

Imagine a young entrepreneur, brimming with passion and enthusiasm, launching a start-up with dreams of changing the world or at least impacting on his environment. The initial excitement fuels long hours, creative brainstorming sessions, and relentless pursuit of success. However, despite meticulous planning and dedication, setbacks inevitably arise.

The first setback always hits like a thunderbolt, most times it douses the momentum of the new business. In some cases, where the setback is quite impactful  – maybe a major investor pulls out at the last minute, leaving the entrepreneur scrambling to fill the funding gap or a significant partner withdraws his participation and leaves with the blueprint of the company and sometimes, half the workforce. Panic sets in, doubts creep in, and the once clear path ahead seems clouded with uncertainty. It’s a pivotal moment, a test of character and determination.  A true entrepreneur must rise above this. This is when Plans B-Z are reassessed and modified to fit expectations. This is the time to reach out to existing network of colleagues and mentors, seeking advice and exploring alternative options.

The first vital lesson in entrepreneurship is to embrace setbacks and use rejection and betrayal as stepping stones to greater determination and bigger success.

The entrepreneur must always adapt and innovate instead of succumbing to despair. Business plans and models should constantly be re-evaluated to identify new opportunities, and forge ahead with renewed vigour. There is one thing that I always tell my young friends; that terrain that seems so tough or that problem that looks insurmountable has already been faced by another person with great success. Someone has become a mega-billionaire doing exactly what you are doing under the same extraneous circumstance as you. Try to be the entrepreneur that others emulate. Think outside the box. Go the extra mile till you achieve your success.

Get a mentor. In the midst of adversity, mentors are like anchors. Perhaps it is good to specify her that I am referring to available mentors, not those that will not even pick your calls. I have written about mentors several times on this blog; how to identify a fitting mentor for you and your business, how to approach a mentor and what to demand from a mentor. A mentor helps the entrepreneur to see beyond the setbacks and potholes. He teaches him to find comfort in the fact that others have faced and surmounted similar problems, he introduces the entrepreneur to successful colleagues with whom he can swap tales of near-misses, epic failures and unexpected triumphs. A mentor arms the entrepreneur with the encouragement that helps him see the humour in the most difficult challenges, finding comic relief in the chaos. Humour becomes a powerful coping mechanism, easing the weight of setbacks and fostering camaraderie.

An entrepreneur needs the virtues of perseverance and resilience, with each setback becoming a lesson and catalyst for growth and innovation. As a younger man, I had a lot of ideas and I was excited to turn the ideas into projects and enterprises. The speed and enthusiasm that I used to have every time I ventured into a new business have reduced over the years. However, I am more committed to the businesses that I run now because I have learnt the need to have a thorough feasibility research. I don’t jump in easily no matter how tempting the idea is but, I also don’t jump out easily no matter how rough the terrain.

In the end, overcoming entrepreneurial setbacks is not just about bouncing back – it’s about embracing setbacks as opportunities for growth, transformation and redirection. It’s about cultivating resilience, harnessing creativity, and staying the course, no matter how rocky the journey may seem. As the entrepreneurial journey unfolds, setbacks will continue to arise. Yet, with each successful combat, the entrepreneur emerges more resilient, more resourceful, and more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. In the world of entrepreneurship, setbacks are not roadblocks – they are stepping stones to success.

However, if at the end of it all, an entrepreneur is unable to carry on, if the setbacks are totally overwhelming, it takes wisdom to know your limit and to bow out gracefully, salvaging what you can from your resources.

So long!


Fatherhood with Ibe


I have met a lot of parents with diverse opinions on the best ways to raise kids. Many persons, even of scholarly repute, have decried the use of canes and all manners of physical punishments in raising children. They argue that children are not animals and that they possess the inert ability to reason and should therefore be guided verbally and allowed freedom to exercise their will. Many feel that true growth comes from giving the child liberty to independently explore his environments and his abilities with the parents and guardians taking up the role of supervisors.

By virtue of writing Fatherhood with Ibe for years and sharing my day-to-day involvement in the lives and upbringing of my children, I have been called several times to speak on parenting. I believe the organising hosts always expected that I would have a blueprint on the best way to raise children and I always disappointed them on that.

There is no perfect plan in raising children.

There are perfect goals in parenting; to make them imbibe the virtues of discipline, hard work, self confidence, kindness to themselves and others, integrity and reverence to God. The path that leads to the attainment of these virtues may differ from child to child and from parent to parent. Parents and guardians should work with what suits them best in the interest of the children.

A young friend of mine invited me to a men’s fellowship of his local church assembly and among many topics, they asked me about the best way to train children especially when it comes to discipline. Creating a comprehensive guide on parenting styles would be a substantial endeavour, but I could certainly provide an overview and key points for consideration. I emphasised that there is no “best” parenting style as far as I know. Many times, parental approach to raising kids would depend on their cultural exposure, individual children’s needs, and personal values and experiences.

I will share here some of the parenting styles that we evaluated that day and individuals can make their choices. There are:

Authoritative Parenting is often referred to as democratic parenting or balanced parenting and is characterized by a combination of warmth and responsiveness with clear expectations and boundaries. This style of parenting is greatly recommended because it is child-focused. Authoritative parents are warm, nurturing, and responsive to their children’s emotional needs. They listen to their children, validate their feelings, and provide support and encouragement.

At the same time, authoritative parents set clear and reasonable expectations for their children. They establish consistent rules and consequences, ensuring that their children understand the boundaries and know what is expected of them. They encourage independence and autonomy in their children by providing guidance and support while allowing their children to take on age-appropriate responsibilities and to make decisions. When discipline is necessary, authoritative parents focus on teaching their children appropriate behaviour and helping them learn from their mistakes rather than resorting to harsh punishments. It sounds quite utopian and some would say foreign but it is quite practicable and nurtures a closeness between parents and children.

The next is Authoritarian Parenting which prioritizes obedience and discipline, often using strict rules and punishments. The parents may have low responsiveness to their children’s emotional needs and interaction is mostly one-sided. Strict adherents to this style of parenting often quote the Bible passage that says ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ However, they forget that the rod was not significant for punishment at that time, it was more for guidiance and defence. Many parents today are products of this type of parenting.

The third is Permissive Parenting where parents are lenient and indulgent, allowing their children a high degree of freedom without many rules or consequences. This style of parenting may result in children lacking self-discipline and struggling with boundaries. I once visited a home where the child was clearly rude to her parents even in the presence of visitors. They excused her behaviour as being cranky and the punishment was ‘time out.’ On enquiry, I understood that ‘time out’ meant confinement to the little girl’s room for 30 minutes. As the eight years old child was leaving the sitting room, she took her mother’s phone with her and I heard the Mum shouting, “don’t pick my calls, Princess.” I almost laughed out loud. What kind of punishment was that?

The last style is the Uninvolved/Neglectful Parenting where parents are so caught up in their personal pursuits or problems that they are often totally disengaged from their children and provide minimal emotional support, guidance, or supervision. Most children from this environment often experience emotional and behavioural issues, lack self-esteem, and have difficulties forming healthy relationships.

I have discovered that the parents / guardians are the most important component in shaping the lives of their children. Their own mental and emotional wellbeing are key elements in how they rear their children.

In that gathering and in other places that I have spoken about parenting, I always emphasise parental growth as a prerequisite to balanced/successful parenting. It doesn’t have to be exactly the way your parents raised you. It doesn’t have to be the direct opposite of how you were raised. Have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and remember that at the very least, there are two decades between you and your child; things are different.

Growing up, I was well acquainted with the cane because my father believed in its quick reformatory powers. “Just get ready for cane,” was a common way of us kids telling one another that a line had been crossed and it was going to be a ‘hot day’ of severe flogging. I have to admit that the fear of cane kept me on the straight and narrow. I didn’t like being flogged. I was never one of those kids that would brazenly bring out their hands and collect 15 strokes of the cane without flinching. No! I hated the torture of the cane. Did it work for me and my siblings; I would say yes, it did. Did I use the same method for my kids? No!

The style that works according to my research and experience is a combination of:

1) Open and honest communication with your child with an active desire to know and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings.

2) Establishment of clear expectations and boundaries; don’t keep changing the goal post. If something is not acceptable, be clear that it is not acceptable. Boundaries are very important for children and it helps them to set boundaries as adults.

3) Understanding your child’s perspective – validate their emotions and respond with empathy and support.

4) Encouragement of positive behaviour through praise, rewards, and constructive feedback.

5) Impactful punishments where there is a clear disrespect of set rules. Here parents have to know what is impactful. It could be withdrawal of privileges as mentioned earlier or use of the cane or extra chores. Punishment should be understood to be commensurate with the misbehaviour and the age of the child.

By combining these strategies and adapting them to your child’s unique needs, you can cultivate parenting style that fosters your child’s growth, sense of self worth and development.