Maxine Park: Patience is an entrepreneurial virtue


The ancient quote that patience is a virtue is one that pretty much all of us can relate to.


Generally, it is offered as wise words in times of frustration, and this is an emotion all of us have gone through as entrepreneurs from time to time.


However, when is patience a virtue and when isn’t it?


I found myself mulling this over recently, on an exasperating day, and whilst I can’t pretend to have the answer nailed on, I think I might have something, which roughly gives some clarity to this common phrase.


In essence, I think patience is a virtue when you are looking at long term goals, but not when you have urgent, in your face, day to day issues to deal with.


For instance, when I started off in business almost 20 years ago, I knew that I couldn’t have an organisation the size I have now in a few months, providing outsourcing services to hundreds of businesses, and having regional offices all over Britain.


Simply put, you have to work at things that are ultimately going to be worthwhile, and it is holding on to this vision that will get you there and keep you going through the tough times.


However, if a law firm client rang me and said they urgently need documents transcribed for a court case the following day, then this would be a case where patience is most certainly not something you’d expect them to show. I think if I said: “Patience is a virtue,” in this instance, I’d have no clients!


Dream of big goals


However, having a strong vision of what you want to achieve is something we all need in business, and this is where you have to exercise the patience muscle.


A business plan is the cornerstone. After all, an entrepreneur usually starts with a business plan, and then with the big picture in mind works on short term and long term goals, which are subject to constant review and update.


So, many times when we started DictateNow, we thought something would happen to show we’d arrived, but it proved a false dawn. Reading the stories of many other entrepreneurs, it shows that the world does not operate like this, the majority have to be in it for the long term before success drum can be beaten.


It’s the big goals and dreams that get you out of bed in the morning – attending meetings with clients, staff, suppliers etc. – it can sometimes be exhausting but the end goal is worth it. However, there are no short cuts and patience is needed just as it is in nature.


After all, we don’t see farmers screaming in open fields in January because there’s barren land. They simply plant the seeds, and reap the rewards down the road in the autumn when the fields are full of rewarding crops.


This lesson from nature is something we can all do with taking note of.


An impatience epidemic


It is vital to think like this in our helter-skelter world of the 21st century, because impatience seems to be a huge issue.

Starting off a new business, getting your voice heard by those you wish to influence, constantly staying on people’s radars in the hope that they one day they contact you or recommend you to someone –  it’s something that requires the diligence and patience of a good farmer.

Instant results, be it a fad diet, or a business that lasts five minutes have no foundations, but it is easy to forget this when the ad man keeps on banging about instant success.

So, to you all I say try your best to build up a reserve of patience, have the faith that all will be well, and work away despite the inevitable setbacks. If you do, the chances are that it will all be worth it in the end.


Is there an impatience epidemic, what are your thoughts and what tips do you have for cultivating patience in business?


Maxine Park is the founder of DictateNow, the largest digital dictation and transcription specialist in the UK


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