Get the Right Advice Upfront to Make Your Ideas Work Every Time
I now have over 20 years experience in Small Business ownership. I am not a business coach. These observations are based on my own experiences and are my attempt to save you some pain. It can be tough out there when you first launch yourself. If there is anything I would like to share about my experience it’s about getting the right advice upfront and about the natural cycle of business, up, flat line, down. Each of these phases has an upside if you can work it. But there are also ways to avoid a lot of the pain.
Often when the dream of Small Business is just a sparkle in our eye the world is our oyster. The opportunities are endless and we just know in our heart that this is the business idea that will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams, serve our community, solve the problems of the universe…. You get the picture.
Nothing and I mean nothing can stop us. We live our dream in every moment, putting in endless days and nights of creative and enthusiastic effort. Friends? Who needs ‘em! Family? Exist only to feed us, mind the kids or make another coffee… oh and to plug the finance hole if we are super lucky.
This creation stage is so full of promise and enthusiastic energy that it may not even occur to us that our idea sucks.
- UPSIDE – You get stuff done.
- DOWNSIDE – It might not be the right stuff.
- FLATLINE – Refusal to accept the dollars are not in front of you.
At this stage we are determined to keep going. Long nights. Longer days. The disappearance of our weekends, social life, health and family are starting to show up… or in fact not show up as the case may be. Our confidence is hammered but we keep ignoring the feedback of the empty bank account, the silent phone and the fact that the electricity has gone out.
It is still a given that everyone wants what we are selling, creating, birthing into the world right? Of course they do. They would be mad not to. In other words it’s their problem rather than really being ours. And this my friends has certainly been a place I have eyeballed on a number of occasions.
I am not one to suggest you give up at this point but I want to ask you, whose opinion are you relying on to keep going in the way you are? With that particular product or service in the way it currently exists? Is it just yours? Have you really gotten an independent assessment of your idea, and no I’m not talking about your neighbour, aunty or best friend.
I’m talking about people who do this for a living, people with skin in the game who could look at your offering and see it’s relevance to business. Are you asking your customers and if so are you really listening to feedback. A lack of interest or sales IS your feedback my poor desperate friend.
ME sobbing quietly in the corner, “WHY doesn’t anyone want my widget, gadget, fozbit???”
The long haul through the mud of desperation, the wind of indifference and the burn of rejection with only a cranky dog for a companion (and he’s on temporary loan) has finally taken its’ toll. You have hit DOUBT.
- UPSIDE – You are stating to slow down and assess.
- DOWNSIDE – Your still paddling like mad and getting no where.
- DOWN – It’s true I am a failure and should never have had a dream.
At this point it is so tempting to go back to employment. Suddenly that dependable wage, free weekends and paid annual leave looks so GOOD! The reasons we left our reliable job to pursue the dream seem less significant.
But wait. Just give it a minute. There may be an alternative.
- UPSIDE – You are getting real about having to rethink.
- DOWNSIDE – You might give up a little too soon.
It may well be that you idea was never going to fly. It did indeed suck and was about as useful as carbon dioxide in a hyperbaric chamber. Or it just might be that you have not yet plugged into the knowledge or people you need to help craft it to really make it work. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about the customer and there are people out there who can guide aspects of your idea to make it customer worthy.
Can I tell you who they are? No. This is part of your journey. However I can tell you that having been through all the stages and not learnt my lesson a couple of times, getting the right advice, mentoring or coaching in the beginning may save you a world of pain. This is where you can start next time.
Sometimes it is best not to believe our own ideas, but embrace them as just one possibility and then get some real feedback.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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