My Biggest Setback In Business Prepared Me For My Biggest Comeback In Business

By Nikoa Evans

It’s Storytime. My leap into entrepreneurship was a big one with the location for my first business venture, a retail store in the early 2000s. 

It was a large warehouse building located on waterfront property. With a 15-year lease on the building and the contract of sale to purchase, my team had full control of this valuable real estate site.

City planning for a pier waterfront development included the store location as an anchor business for the project with a possible ferry service to transport daily commuters and weekend visitors to and from the site.  

A joint venture partnership with a developer positioned my team to purchase the building and develop the site into a retail complex.  All things looked promising until an alternative development plan for the area emerged. 

The opportunity was presented to property owners and leaseholders in the area to sell, which many did quickly and quietly. We, however, did not. As entrepreneurs, our vision and passion for the store was intrinsically tied to the physical building. 

As a result, our emotional attachment to the physical asset prevented our making a decision based on the facts and circumstances at the time. Shortly thereafter, the investor pulled out of the deal a week before closing on the purchase due to the planned developments for the area which no longer aligned with our vision. 

In an instant, a deal that took two years to develop was gone. The two years of cash investment toward lease payments and the deposit for the contract of sale…gone. 

If we had sold when we had the opportunity, we could have walked away with a sum of cash that could have been leveraged to secure another property for a new store location. 

Lesson learned? Never allow your emotional attachment to a physical asset blur your ability to make a smart business decision. 

Don’t allow negative circumstances to make you lose sight of the true asset in your arsenal…You!  

Your vision, strategy, and skill set are THE most important assets you have and with these, you can ALWAYS pivot with a new strategic direction, new location, new product idea, or new service.

Besides…setbacks often position you for comebacks.  A couple of years later, I did open that store, in a new location to great fanfare and success for several years. 

So, if you stumble, get back up; brush your shoulders off; create a new vision. 

Related: Harlem’s Trailblazer Nikoa Evans Talks Harlem Restaurant Week ’21 On The Harlem World Magazine Show.

Pivot & Keep it moving. Because what’s meant for you…is Yours. And one setback isn’t going to change that. Period.

Nikoa Evans

Nikoa is a strategic advisor with over thirty years of experience in marketing, brand positioning, and building infrastructure and economic eco-systems for entrepreneurs in diverse communities.

Her consultancy has advised national brands, retail developers, entrepreneurs, and economic development corporations on market entry strategy, consumer engagement, business development, and commercial revitalization strategies in emerging U.S. markets.

Past and present clients include national brands Uber, Uber Eats, Whole Foods Market, and the economic development corporation Harlem Park to Park (HP2P) for which Evans has served as a founding board member, strategic consultant, and executive director for eleven years. https://www.nikoaevans.com/, @nikoaevans

Photo credit: Nikoa Evans taken from her new newsletter Nikoa Evans.

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