Are You Getting Ready To Succeed?

With all the buzz about entrepreneurship, and running your own business, many people are getting ready to succeed at starting a new business and working for themselves. However, all the effort they are placing in preparing for this may be for naught – as George Bernard Shaw said, Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. The effort put into getting ready to do anything is not nearly as useful as the effort put into doing it.

Chris Brogan of social media fame writes:

I think we’ll see more solo people tucking in with bigger organizations. I also think we’ll see smaller groups banding together to form stronger groups, not just in marketing, but in any of the newer businesses out there.

This is reality. There is safety in large companies, in that they are better equipped to handle fluctuations in the market, in the demand for their products. A small business which does $50,000 in sales per month is going to be much harder hit by a 20% reduction in sales one month – a large business can absorb that more easily (at least in the short term).

What does this have to do with preparing to succeed? The fact that many people (myself included) do not want to live under the fear of their business going under. We like the security, we like shifting the risk to someone else. Therefore, before we dive into a new venture, we will work as hard as possible to reduce the risk as much as possible. But as Robb Sutton says, ‘One Day’ is too late.

At some point, you need to jump, you need to take some risk. All the time spent preparing could be better utilized by doing. Take the following as an example:

On the CBC show Dragons’ Den, Claire Copp of Vancouver, BC came on the show looking for an investment in her software product, Trader II. One particular point that Claire made was that she had been working on this program for 20 years and had yet to sell a single copy. Now, there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from her presentation, but I’m just going to talk about one. Claire Copp had spent 20 years preparing to succeed, instead of going out there, finding out if there’s a real demand for her product, how much people would pay for it. (As a side note, if you search for “Trader II” Claire Copp, the first two results are Dragons’ Den, and my other blog where I posted a review of the episode.)

Of course, Claire is an extreme case, but the lesson remains. If you want to succeed, then you need to act now. If you keep waiting until all the risk has been removed, you may find that you’re left with nothing at all.