Doc told me 6 months ago that I had an affliction on both feet called Plantar Fasciitis. Apparently, runners and ballet dancers get it. I gave myself one hard look in the mirror and convinced myself that at my age, I would not look good in a pink ballet dress…so I opted for the former. It’s great to be back in running shoes after such a long period of inactivity, and even greater to see that the increased levels of seratonin have brought about a surge of weekend creativity. So here are my thoughts of the day – and by the way, I have been guilty of all of them, in one form or another.
1. It’s a Conservative Estimate
Yeah right. I’ve never seen an entrepreneur yet who has really dug to the bone on his forecasts. Conservative estimates are never that because of the dreamer in every entrepreneur. Give it your best guess on a Thursday, pass it to the most cynical person you know on a Friday, let her work on it over the weekend, and then whatever number he produced on Monday, run with that.
2. I Worked Hard to Make it Happen
OK, so you’ve convinced yourself you work hard. It’s true you’ve sweated – but the trust is that luck and timing ALWAYS have a lot to do with success. Just admit it.
3. I Got Lucky
This is the inverse argument of the above. Maybe. But a big part of this luck is the “tipping point”. Entrepreneurs make their own luck – the culmination of a lot of hard work, timing, judgement and of course, an element of luck.
4. This Idea is Going To Make Me Very Rich
It may be that the byproduct of your super particle accelerating, nova-busting, tri-acceleron once in a lifetime opportunity is going to make you personally very rich one day, but if this is your motivation to start a business, forget it. Focus on changing the world and creating karma and customer experience. The rest will follow.
5. I’m a Quick Learner
No you’re not! Most of the time entrepreneurs learn by mistakes, errors of judgement, poor timing and failure. There’s no better way to learn than to experience a few bricks in the head. If entrepreneurs were quick learners, many would not return to the corporate world after their first business failure.
6. It’s My Company
I love this one. Many entrepreneurs when they’re starting out are lured by the dream of independence and not having to put up with a boss. But then the fundraising starts and you’re giving away equity in your company. The moment you go down that path, it’s no longer your company. It’s a partnership.
7. We Couldn’t Find The Funding
Not true. Fundraising is all about sales. It’s about prospecting and conversion. The more stones you turn over in a river to find that illusive piece of gold, the more chance you’ll have of finding investors. If your conversion rate is high, and nobody is biting, well that’s because there’s something wrong with the investment proposal. Go back to the drawing board.
8. My First Sale Is My Biggest Start-Up Milestone
This is not exactly untrue, but a common error is in thinking of the first sale as the first customer. Actually, the first customer is sold LONG BEFORE you create your start-up company. It’s your wife, husband, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend or whomsoever you chose to call your “significant other” that’s always the first customer. Start-ups can wreck relationships, so when you’re selling your partner on your dream, also make sure that you make them fully aware of the long tough road ahead. There’s nothing worse in a relationship than dealing with broken promises.
9. It’s Not Possible. We’ve tried so hard
Lies, all lies. You’re an entrepreneur! It’s YOUR CALLING to make the impossible happen, to weave magic and to create karma. “Not possible” is code for “I can’t be bothered”.
10. This is our Expected Case Scenario
In Ireland, we live and die by Murphy’s Law – because it’s true. The number one rule is that whatever can go wrong, will, and not only that, it will go drastically wrong, or change, or take a different trajectory, or slow down, or go on hunger-strike, or explode, or fall apart, fall flat on its face…you get it….If you’re a master of making the impossible happen, then try mastering the unpredictable.