I’ve been called a cynic many times, perhaps because I tend to see situations with a negative spin, or, as I prefer to call it, a realist’s perspective. It’s not that I don’t believe in having an optimistic approach, it’s that history has demonstrated that being prepared for the worst is rarely a bad thing.
In business, this certainly holds true. While one might hope for the best possible outcome, you must also be prepared for the worst. What if your competitor launches a product similar to yours at the same time you do? What if that product is actually better than your own? What if it’s also cheaper? Do you know what you would do in that situation?
That’s not to say you should focus on the cynical approaches to life. Doing so is more likely to frustrate people around you as they attempt to cope with your dour outlooks, and long for the days when everything was cheery and bright.
However, while your energies and focus should be squarely planted on the direction you hope your business will take, there should also be some nagging thoughts garnering some attention. That attention should be devoted not to hampering the efforts of your goals, but rather, on preparing an alternative plan, or, as it’s more commonly referred to, your Plan B.
A small business looking to launch a product might have a focus on one market, but at the same time, spend a little bit of effort in pursuing some alternate markets, with slight modifications to the product. Alternatively, a service-based business might run some consulting on the side to generate some cash-flow for a rainy day.
If you truly understand that your best-laid plans can come to a complete stop on account of some event out of your control, you will make sure that you don’t have one set of plans, but rather, several sets, and as each gets side-tracked or waylaid, you immediately shift over to the next plan.
The ability to maneuver easily to changing conditions might be what sets aside your business in the turning tides from those that find themselves stranded high and dry.