You don't need an idea to start a business

Entrepreneurs, Crisis and Freedom

by María Paula Russo
June 2020

This was, for almost a year, the icon on the WhatsApp group we shared with Francisco Santolo for the management of Scalabl and its global expansion. 

A phrase of his travels the world: “Entrepreneurship is not creating companies, making money or hiring employees and renting offices", but “simply the art of making things possible”

The moment that I chose the icon for the group - while laughing at yet one more proof of conviction that life was placing on our way - entrepreneurship felt like moving cobblestones from one place to another, in a room with no more space available even for ourselves, the exit to which, of course, we couldn’t even see. 

His article goes on explaining that “entrepreneurship is trying once and again, falling and getting back on track”. 

Thus, locked in, moving cobblestones, testing over and over, getting exhausted and starting again from scratch, we transited the quest for business models that were replicable and scalable to each country, testing our hypotheses for the sake of our clients’ growth, and testing - literally - hundreds of sale roadmaps. 

The cobblestones are not our icon anymore. Instead, we have a plain purple canvas. I changed it some time ago because we had left the room, we had defined our models and roadmaps, and Scalabl started to be, like that plain canvas, a space that reflected the virtuous, replicable and scalable aspects of our work. 

COVID-19 challenged again, among other things, many of our businesses, wiping out our financial capacity and confronting us with strong billing limitations. 

And, among hundreds of decisions that we had to make and execute with time running against us, I always kept in the back of my head that paragraph I will never forget since I read it in college, in Daniel Innerarity’s book "La libertad como pasión" (Freedom as Passion): “There’s no forgiveness to not taking freedom seriously”. This means, leaving the conception freedom as the mere ability to choose, and treasuring it as a perpetual indecision. “Deep freedom is that which is carried out, turned into life, decided and committed”. It is not a given resource, but a value on which we bet and invest, with which we play. 

The isolation measures in the context of the coronavirus spread affected our main business unit, leaving in suspense all our on-site courses around the globe. But nothing teaches better to overcome external obstacles and internal limitations, than the conscience of having a task in life, a purpose. And we had the task of keeping a company which brings genuine value to the world, which works for the transformation of an inefficient entrepreneurship system, with a team that has both professional talent and an immeasurable human quality. One of the companies that, among hundreds, keeps the gears working in a number of world economies that we cannot let collapse. 

Within the small role I play in this great global crisis, holding on to this task filled me with purpose and gave its fruits. We took great steps in the path of reversing the situation with new business models and initiatives that we had been working on, but we decided to push forward.

I keep choosing to think that we always have the freedom to make things possible, although it implies adaptation and moving cobblestones one and a thousand times. 

This was, for almost a year, the icon on the WhatsApp group we shared with Francisco Santolo for the management of SCALABL® and its global expansion. 

While trusting that entrepreneurship was “the art of making things possible”, as he always says, I felt “the exhaustion of moving cobblestones”, and thus I chose this image which, today, in the context of COVID-19 isolation, led me to reflect upon and share this experience. 

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