Breakeven Duration


Every building has a foundation. There are some buildings that have deeper and stronger foundation, while there are others that have a shallow foundation. The foundation usually correlates with the size of the building. If the building is big, then its foundation should be deep and vice versa. When a sky scrapper is being constructed, it will take time for one to start seeing its structural construction because the constructors would spend more time laying the foundation.

Burj“Burj Khalifa” in Dubai, which is the world’s tallest building, took six years to be constructed. The constructors took more than a year constructing its foundation which is 50 Meters deep. There are some buildings whose foundations are laid within a day. Extrapolating this information to business performance, there are businesses that breakeven within a year while others breakeven after ten years.

Breakeven is the time taken for a startup business to recoup its costs. The breakeven period is always hinged on the costs that the business used to start up. The more the costs, the longer the breakeven duration and vice versa. The height of a building will determine how deep its foundation will go. This implicitly means that the building whose foundation is not deep is not always weak. What matters is the height of the building.

In life, different people also have got different breakeven durations. This is the time one takes to register a landmark achievement that illuminates him/her into the limelight. Many individuals do not know the time you took to put your foot print in the dew of achievers, but will only remember the day you made a breakthrough. The same applies to the sky scrapers; many won’t remember when the foundation was laid, but will remember when the physical structure was seen.

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It took Tom Mboya only 27 years for him to be in the limelight in African politics, while it took Nelson Mandela 72 years for him to have a breakthrough in African politics. Therefore we cannot insinuate that Tom Mboya was better than Nelson Mandela because his breakeven duration was shorter. Mwai Kibaki became the president of Kenya at the age of 71, while Uhuru Kenyatta became the president at the age of 52. We therefore can’t conclude that Uhuru is better than Kibaki on the premise that his breakeven duration was shorter.

When the name McDonald Mariga is mentioned, we all remember the year 2010 when he joined Inter Milan and made a breakthrough. But before that, he had made his football debut at Tusker FC in 2003. What we fail to realize is that it took him seven years of toil for a breakthrough to prevail. Mariga’s feat is also mirrored in “Nameless” music career. We all remember in 1999 when he was catapulted into the airwaves with his then hit song “mega rider”. There was no turning back for him from then on wards. Little is said of how long he had hustled before his breakthrough.

Most young people of my generation have a penchant for instant breakthroughs hence end up being allergic to patience. They’ll only recognize when a certain role model made a breakthrough but won’t bother to dig deep and find out how long the role model took to achieve the breakthrough.

If an upcoming footballer would know that it took Mariga seven years to have a breakthrough, he won’t be frustrated when his success is not instant. When a budding politician realizes that it took Mandela over 70 years to be the president of South Africa, he/she won’t give up after losing an election at the age of 30. When an upcoming musician realizes that it took “Nameless” over five years to dominate Kenya’s airwaves, he/she won’t capitulate when his/her song doesn’t get a good public reception within a year. So patience and resilience is the key, the break-even duration notwithstanding.



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