Business Start Up: What’s Your Plan B?

Business Start Up: What’s Your Plan B?

Advice is sometimes given that you should never have a Plan B. The thinking goes that if you have no backup plan, by necessity, you will figure things out as you go along.  After all, backup plans are generally easier than the original plan, so wouldn’t you be more likely to follow the path of least resistance?  If you have a safety net, won’t you invariably fall into it?

I understand this mentality.  It follows the tenets of the law of attraction.  Whatever we think about, we’ll attract into our lives.  If a Plan B is on our minds, we’ll probably manifest it.  And I can think of lots of examples where jumping in without a harness may have forced people to work harder on their businesses.  For example, single moms or male heads of families with no other financial support. You probably have examples of your own.

But here’s the thing.  Sometimes people give up their life savings, quit high-paying jobs, and borrow other people’s money to fuel their business ideas.  And many of those businesses fail.  There could be plenty of reasons for it – poor planning, weak management, feeble marketing, economic downturn.  But sometimes it’s just a poor business idea.  A Plan B could have tempered too rash a decision in the first place.

All things considered, I don’t think that the lack of a safety net is the main determining factor in whether or not a business will be successful.  Commitment and hard work will make more of a difference, but these are not contingent on working without a net.  As examples:

  • Client A takes a sabbatical to start his business, and once he knows it’s a winner, only then does he quit his job.
  • Client B starts an alternative health practice in her third year of nursing at university.  She still finishes the last year as part of her backup plan, but works so hard on her business, she wouldn’t even have needed the nursing degree.
  • Client C, a writer, continues to take jobs writing business plans, even while he plugs away on his fiction novels.

Having no backup plan might work for some people, but certainly not for everyone.  It really comes down to a person’s comfort with risk.  Fear of having no money can certainly motivate people to work hard, but consider this: “Do we really want to operate our businesses in a state of fear?”  Wouldn’t we rather run our businesses based on passion instead of fear?

I believe a success mentality works in the long run.  But when we’re on the high wire, let’s make sure the odds are in our favour before we tell the ringmaster to remove the net.

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