Business Planning Mistakes: Why?
when you first get into business, your number one concern is to get paid.
you believe “finding opportunity” is going to be your greatest challenge, and so you pretty much say “yes” to every opportunity you uncover, that can make you a few bucks.
then, after a while, you suddenly come to the realization that…
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“finding opportunities,” isn’t your problem.
it’s “managing” all the opportunities you suddenly have all laid out in front of you.
and the truth is, unless you quickly develop some sort of “filter” that you put these opportunities through… it’s not going to take very long before you’re suddenly “in over your head.”
after almost 13 years of doing this, the most reliable formula i’ve used, is to constantly ask yourself “why?” and “why not?”
and ask it, from the top down
so when something’s put in front of you:
* Why should I do this project?
and for your own sanity, and sense of humanity, you need to have an answer that goes beyond just “the money.”
because as we just discussed, getting paid usually isn’t a problem, but i’ve found, getting paid and doing something that’s congruent with some kind of bigger personal plan… can be a problem if you’re not careful
for instance, here are some reasons I’ve done things in the past, that have worked out well:
– to learn something new, that i could apply to other projects
– to work with someone cool, who could teach me something, or expose me to a new way of thinking
– to generate leads
– to learn about a new industry
– to prove to myself I could do something (personal development / growth)
And here are some reasons I’ve done things, that have NOT worked out well, which is why you need to get VERY real with yourself and ask, “Why shouldn’t you do something?”
I obviously didn’t ask myself this question, soon enough:
– because i felt insecure about where i was at, at the time
– because i foolishly thought there was “fast money” in it
– because some guru said it worked, and i didn’t bother to see if anyone else was doing something similar
– because ‘it sounded like a good idea at the time.’ so good i didn’t bother to think it through and do enough research on it
– because i was working with the wrong person, and i figured over time, “things would change” (Note: “Hope” is not a good business strategy.)
– because i thought someone i liked could also be a good partner, even though he didn’t necessarily bring something to the table that enhanced our combined talents (Note: friends are friends for a reason, and friends are NOT business partners for another reason.)
– because i wasn’t enjoying what i was doing, and at that point, “almost anything” would be better. (Kind of like being in a bad relationship and cheating with the first woman you meet, the first opportunity you get. Doesn’t make either situation better.)
The most important thing I’ve learned, is to do things that are congruent with who you are, as a person. And… with who you want to become, as a person.
And, to do these things with people who share a similar way of thinking.
So for instance, if you’re a baby boomer and you hate video games, then working on a technologically advanced gaming project — even one that has the “potential” to make you a bajillion dollars — may not be a fit for you.
Remember, potential isn’t what makes you happy — financially OR emotionally.
As Charles Bukowski said, “Potential doesn’t mean a thing. You’ve got to DO IT. Almost every baby in a crib has more potential than I have.”
Just DO IT wisely, is what I’ve learned.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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