You’ve probably heard and read the “you can do it” speech, directed at starting your own business and entrepreneurship, often. A lot of people, usually people who have actually done it, give that speech. They tell stories of overcoming obstacles to build a business. They cue the stirring music. You can do it. All you need is (more stirring music) to believe in yourself. Keep trying. Never give up.
Running repeatedly into a brick wall, or digging yourself deeper into a hole,can be bad for your business, your dreams, and your life.
That’s why people need to plan first. They need to take a good long look at realistic sales potential, realistic costs, expenses, and cash flow. It’s not just some document, it’s a matter of breaking down the uncertainty, understanding what it’s going to take, and making real decisions based on decent best guesses. No, you’ll never really know, but yes, you can break what you don’t know down into more meaningful pieces.
You’ve probably heard of the 3, 4, or 5 Ps of marketing, right? How about the more important P equation of starting a business: planning is worth more than patience, persistence, and perseverance put together.
Inspirational speeches are usually delivered by people who made it across the chasm. They mean well, but are they taking responsibility for the people who will never make it, when they encourage them to jump?
I don’t believe that every business idea is an opportunity. I don’t believe that patience, persistence, perseverance and such is enough. Maybe you shouldn’t spend your life’s savings on that business you dream of. Maybe you’ll just lose your life’s savings.
Be realistic. Be skeptical. Watch for fatal flaws. Test your assumptions. Be careful.