Lesson 1: Have A Plan B
25 LESSONS LEARNED IN 25 YEARS
Confessions of an Accidental Entrepreneur
After 25 years in business, I decided to share what I learned by writing a series on the lessons that I felt deemed themselves worthy of the top 25 I have learned. This is the first in the series.
I was going to be a potter and sell ceramics for a living and yes, they have degrees in that and I did get one—Bachelor of Fine Arts. At the time, my father told me that it’s good to have a Plan B career as you never know when you will need it. I took his advice and I received graphic design degree also. After graduation, I got a job in an ad agency and was hooked. Little did I know that I would have my own agency for 25 years.
It's not easy to take the first step to open your own business and having a Plan B is not meant to be discouraging and doesn't mean that you have to abandon your dream.
I learned early on that it’s good to be smart and realistic. What I mean by this is that you need a back-up plan or plans to have support mechanisms in place to keep your business sustainable and thriving.
Your Plan B may have begun with a day job that you stayed at until your business became sustainable. If that is the case, when you quit your job, a line of credit or some savings as a cushion to help you through tough financial times is a good idea. You might want to have a mentor or a business support group that gives real world advice and will hold you accountable.
A Plan B could involve a flexibility factor that you bake into your overall business growth plan. That is the flexibility to regroup and turn the ship around or pivot, if needed and quickly. You should have the vision and toughness to drop things that aren’t working and be open to ideas that will work. Once the decision is made, cut bait and do it as quickly as you can and don’t look back. You will be surprised on how many people may thank you.
Starting and maintaining a business can be confusing, frightening and lonely at times but it’s also exciting, rewarding and fulfilling. Having a Plan B ensures that your Plan A stays on the right track.