What keeps you up at night?

By Younas Chaudhary

As a young entrepreneur in the 1980’s, questions about new deals, maintaining cash flow, ways to reduce costs, and finance kept me awake at night. I matured as the years passed and today such issues do not keep me up at night. I sleep peacefully!

Younas Chaudhary

There was a time when I used to get up in the middle of the night worrying about the fate of a new oil well being drilled or to buy more oil wells deals. Will an expensive new well yield profits or will it  be a dry hole? I learned over time that oil and gas wells production business is highly volatile and no one can control the price of oil.

I have known entrepreneurs who stay up at night because they do not believe in themselves or their workforce. They second guess things and instead of taking a pragmatic approach to solving problems, they end up with sleepless nights fearing things that may never happen or which are not in their control.

What keeps you awake at night? What does a businessman fear most and what makes entrepreneurs tense and sleepless?

Massive disruptions like COVID-19 kept many businessmen awake at night. A sudden halt of the global economy in 2020 brought unprecedented fear and confusion. The hardest hit were people who had taken loans from individuals and financial institutions and could not adjust to the new scenario.

Fortunately, we were ready for such circumstances and moreover my lenders were quite nice and very cooperative. I slept fine. We controlled our costs, shut down high operating cost wells, drilled good new wells and invested more time aggressively in purchasing oil and gas wells at the right prices.

The fear of the unknown during massive disruptions like the 2020 pandemic can give us a feeling of low accomplishment. Many entrepreneurs had several concerns about how to approach the ongoing issues in the best manner.  A lot wondered “what if?”

However, I tend to believe that I tried my best and I rarely worry about what ifs.  I never keep my failures in mind for more than a few days. I move on to the next phase learning from my previous mistakes.  

Sometimes the sheer excitement of a business and its upward trajectory keeps entrepreneurs up at night. The exhilaration of closing a new deal, getting an appointment with a major investor or large expansion loans are thrilling as entrepreneurs believe that tomorrow is going to be better and bigger.

Today, I believe the fight for talent is what is keeping most entrepreneurs up at night. Workforce habits have changed for the worse in the post-Covid era. Talent preservation and management are the biggest issues that entrepreneurs face at the current time. How do we keep those we have, how do we engage the workforce, how can we recruit new talent, and how can we retain them in the long run?

Most prudent entrepreneurs worry about an important aspect of running a business- the retention of human talent. The desires of workers have changed. Now, they have varying demands ranging from hybrid work environments to unheard of allowances and perks. They are lured with enticing offers from short term competitors. Moreover, we are also facing a shortage of qualified workforce especially in science, engineering, technology & mathematics (STEM) careers. I feel  this situation will keep certain entrepreneurs up at night in the coming months and years. Stay blessed!


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.

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