This is a weekly blog featuring "Billy's Laws of Business". These are common sense laws for business owners and potential entrepreneurs. You will find laws on finance, marketing, start-up, HR and many other business topics based on over 25 years as a business trainer and consultant.
Monday, 28 October 2013
Billy's Third Law: The Dangers of Falling in Love
fall in love with the business too soon.
It seemed like such a good idea at the
My explaining my last stock pick to my wife
When you are
getting starting in business, you need objectivity.You can fall in love later; once you have an
idea that you are sure has a chance make a profit.But if you fall in love too early, you lose
all sense of objectivity and you cannot make a rational decision.
People in love
are irrational.Consider family
Christmas letters. My friends’ children all have all-star athletes, on the
honour roll, work with the elderly in their spare time and are currently being
considered for a Nobel Prize.(Never let
your own children read these letters – bad for their self-esteem.)You never hear a mother say “My kid is the ugly
one three in from the left.”You see the
point, love is neither objective nor rational.Now in the world of family – this is (to quote Martha Stewart) a good
thing. In the world of the entrepreneur – it is a bad thing.
misunderstand me.You need real passion
to run your business.You just need to
be rational in deciding which business to start.It is a little like courting.You take time to get to know each other.See if you are compatible, and then fall in
love and then get married.I mean, it’s
not as if you appear on a television show, compete for a multimillionaire and
then get married to a complete stranger at the end of the show. (Well not again
A woman asked me
to help her and her husband with the financial plan for a franchise.I have nothing against franchises, but I had
never heard of this one so the brand recognition advantage was clearly not
there. On reviewing the sales estimates,
which seemed high for a first year business, I asked her where these numbers
came from. She replied, “Why from the franchisor’s sales representative.He also told me that this was such a good
location that if we didn’t buy it that he might just buy it himself”.When I dared imply that she might trust a
franchise salesman’s forecast she was insulted. “How could I be so negative – how could I be
so cynical?What kind of entrepreneur was
I?”She had a real rantIn her heart, this was a ‘done deal’ and I
was just raining on her parade.
She and her
husband had fallen in love with this franchise.She had lost all sense of perspective and could see the two of them working
together in their small business and living happily ever after.Eventually she and her husband purchased the
franchise, financed by a loan co-signed by her parents.She went out of business three months
later.I may be a smart-ass, but I am
not an idiot.
At the pre-start
phase, I think that everybody needs to be an optimistic cynic!You need to know where you are going, look
realistically at how you are going to get there and what obstacles will get in
your way!Remember, you don’t cut off a
toe to make a shoe fit; neither should you force a business concept which
cannot work just because you hope it will work.Remember the words of my friend and business planner Elizabeth Lake:
Hope is not a strategy.
Next week, we
shall see the importance of love and passion in business.