What if you took the risk? What if you invested in yourself and that business idea that’s been blossoming for a few years? What if you went all in? What if you just...started?
Being an entrepreneur comes with a certain amount of risk. Your income is based on your ability to work, produce, and be successful. And the risk never goes away. But that’s part of the draw of being a business owner. Ok, maybe we're a glutton for punishment. But on the flip side, when you see the business you’ve built from the ground up grow and succeed; that’s a feeling that cannot easily be replicated. Because it was based on YOUR work.
One of the scariest things about diving into a new business journey is feeling like you have to have all of the details in place before you start. It’s easy to get hung up on having a 489-page business plan that details out every minute detail of your new venture. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of having back up plan after back up plan after back up plan. These are all great crutches to lean on and to hold onto because there’s this voice in your head that constantly whispers...but what if you fail?
So, what if you fail? What if your business doesn’t make it past the first year? What if it just doesn’t work out? A wise financial planner recently told me that he advises his clients going into business to plot out a list of what could happen if their entrepreneurial venture just doesn’t pan out. So, let’s do that now. This is a practice anyone can do, no matter how far you are into business ownership. My list looks something like this:
- I would have to find a new job, probably back in the corporate world
- I would be out some money, but nothing that would drastically alter my life
- I would probably need some therapy to sort out my feelings of ending my business venture
- I might have to rely on some savings while I find a new job
Yep...none of these are world-ending consequences. I’m not glossing over the fact that my business ending would suck, and it would be devastating. But the tangibles, the finances and logistics aren’t all that bad. I could suck it up and go back to an 8 to 5 job. Heck, I might consider that for the health insurance benefits alone! But when you put pen to paper and go through the “worst case scenarios” it can easily remove those barriers that you are pained over as you think about starting a business.
This wise financial planner brought up a second step. Let’s say some of the consequences of your business ending are devastating financially or to your livelihood. Now that you’ve laid out these scary scenarios, you can put safeguards in place. Perhaps you would lose a large sum of money or drain your savings if your venture didn’t work out. Then the safeguard step might be to rework your savings plan or how you’re funding your business.
The reality of business ownership is that you can plot and plan and write out 100 business plans, but sometimes, you just have to start. You just have to dive in, acknowledging that you don’t know all the details and faking it until you make it can be a good strategy! As someone who is years into business ownership, the dirty secret is that everyone is scared. And the risk of it all ending is always there. If you wait until the absolute perfect moment comes around, well, you’ll be waiting a long time!