If you’re like most, when thinking of a new business venture, idea or concept that you want to start, then writing a business plan is probably the furthest thing on your mind. You just want to dive in to the exciting stuff right? You’re too busy coming up with a catchy name, a logo, colors, designing your new website, picking out office furniture and buying cool office technology equipment to worry about sitting down and writing out a business plan.
Besides, you have most of the ideas in your mind, you kind of have a rough idea of what you want to do and how you are going to do it; the rest of the stuff will just fall into place and take care of itself right?
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The hero bursts through the window, firing two 9mm pistols. Even as the casings and glass are hitting the ground, the bullets find their mark, felling dark robed assassins. She crosses a large empty warehouse, dodging knives, grenades, bullets and well choreographed MMA moves to make it to the closet where a nuclear warhead is ticking…ticking down to zero. Wiping the sweat from her brow, she contemplates, “Red wire, blue wire…,” while pausing to shoot yet another bad guy. Finally, it all comes down to fate as she snips through a random wire, stopping the countdown clock at 00:00.
A protagonist fighting long odds, expending all resources and digging deep into the abyss within themselves to continue to battle back. Eventually, their tenacity and inventiveness is rewarded with success. Many entrepreneurs are affected by this kind of thinking. Not unlike Disney movies for girls years ago (be pretty, smart and attractive and a man will complete you), our movies and books often paint a world that is entertaining, but unreal. For more on this, watch the outtakes from any Jackie Chan movie.
A heroic mindset is useful for times of conflict and challenge, but when it comes to the finances of your start up or expanding company, you can’t afford to be anything but a steely eyed realist. Here are three of the fables we’ve heard in the last decade:
We were privileged two Saturdays ago to be speakers at the Shark Boot Camp, an event that brought together former contestants of the iconic television program, Shark Tank, along with people who are interested in being on the program.
The Shark Tank contestants included:
Shelly Ehler, whose product, ShowNo Towels, actually got three sharks in a fight over who would invest in her company, was the keynote speaker. She recounted losing first a successful business and then her house in the Great Recession. The idea of the ShowNo towel came from taking her kids to the pool and haunted her until she acted on it.
Like all of the contestants that spoke that day, she resisted the idea of going on Shark Tank until she was overwhelmed by one too many coincidences and decided to go for it. She never expected to make the cut, let alone receive investment interest.
After the show aired, there was a slight uptick in business, but not what she had hoped. The lack of results sent her into a tailspin until she realized that she had hundreds of emails from fans and well wishers telling her that she’d inspired them. It kept her going. Her business is still in operation and growing.