There are no shortcuts.
Today, looking back at so many moments like this in the Mille Collines journey I realize there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether to keep going or not; it’s just as honorable to end a journey as it is equally to keep walking forward. Lately, we have said goodbye to several other brands that started walking alongside Mille Collines at the start of it all. Brands that felt like family, like an older sibling or a close friend that you've always enjoyed a friendly rivalry with. Someone you adore and who’s steps you follow closely to make sure you are doing fine. Starting a brand from scratch is a very long process and there are no shortcuts. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Do yourself a favor and acknowledge this from day zero. For those of us who've taken the plunge in creating a new brand, nearly all of have had the early thought of “no… we're different, our product is unique, we can fly higher and faster than anyone.” While this sort of confident naivety certainly has its place, most of us end up dealing with the harsh reality that followed soon after the utterance was made. This doesn't mean the game is over but it does make it clear, if you're willing to listen, that there are no shortcuts.
Entrepreneurship in many ways is an organic process that will likely not be accelerated by force; if you do manage to do it, there may even be downsides due to important lessons being missed. You need to fall and bump your head a few times. Trying to accelerate things, in addition to possibly exhausting your resources, can also call into question the authenticity of your brand a thing which can never be faked. It feels like a cycle is coming to an end and their goodbyes of our counterparts are strangely somewhat liberating. Like any sibling would do, they’ve taught us a lesson; not to be scared to close a chapter and open a new one, since no journey is eternal. And arriving to a place where I can lead without that fear has been a very big win for me, I can feel my anxiety levels going down.
Last year was a key year for us. We decided to keep walking and the only thing that really matters is that we did it for all the right reasons. Since that decision was taken many things have aligned for us in what feels like magic. Far from that, it is the perfect storm, one that never happens if many factors don’t align together.