Go, Set, Ready
By Greg Henderson
Luck resides at the intersection of preparation and opportunity. You and I have heard it a thousand times, but seldom say no to a bit of luck that may come our way. Too, bad. Undeserved luck is addictive and unreliable. COVID-19 is blamed for thousands of business failures whose customers suddenly disappeared because of medical or political decisions addressing the urgency of the pandemic. Studies are also suggesting that many of those business failures were inevitable regardless of restrictions. The risks of starting a business are often magnified by poor preparation in the outset. That is a hard pill to swallow, bitter but true. Forced shutdowns hurried the ending for many. Just because you like music doesn’t mean you can sing. Just because I like dessert does not mean I can cook. Just because Judd enjoys flying doesn’t mean he should be a commercial pilot. Successful achievement is better served with preparation. Sometime in your life someone has said if you’re going into business that you should do something you enjoy. Sound advice? Perhaps not in the beginning. Check your ego at the door. The preparation phase of going into business is a different animal than the exciting hobby you might have in mind. If your avocation is to become your occupation be sure to do the necessary preparation that could delay your start date by weeks, months, even years. Few things are as painful as failed dreams. Knowing that dreams have been defined as goals without a deadline should raise a caution flag for us all. Goals have a plan including deadlines. Dreams do not. Most Start-Up businesses fail within the first five years of operation. But they shouldn’t. Talk to your Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Development Center before declaring your independence in business. It could be the wisest decision you make. “Fifteen percent of small business owners report that they will have to close their doors if current economic conditions do not improve over the next six months, down from 25% two months ago. Another 17% of owners anticipate they will be able to operate no longer than 7-12 months under current economic conditions. Just over two-thirds (68%) are better situated and do not anticipate any near-term problems.” – Covid-19 Small Business Survey (15) PPP, ERTC, the Economy, the Vaccine, and Minimum Wage NFIB Research Center January 28-31, 2021 – Covid-19-15-Questionnaire_.pdf (nfib.com) To what extent is anything worth the risk? Would you place a $100 bet on a $10 prize? Probably not. Would you place a $2 bet on a $200 million prize? Quite possibly. Why? Both bets are a bad investment. Some estimates state that as many as 80% of start-up businesses will fail in the first five years of operation. Those numbers don’t necessarily reflect only business failures, but also the frequency of new business owners having a change of heart who decide business ownership isn’t for them, and just closing the doors. Nevertheless, the percentage of start-ups that do go broke is a high number. And yet, new businesses are started every day regardless of the odds against them. Risk takers, all. Don’t make the odds against your success greater than they need to be.