I’ve had the honor of running the Business Development team at the company I co-founded with someone else and it has been an eye opener for sure. I know there will still be people out there after reading this that will say; “That won’t happen to me.” Well, check your EGO and your arrogance at the door and prepare to pound the pavement. The road will likely be bumpy and hopefully humbling.
The time to turn it on is the day you open your doors for business, not a few months in or even more. For someone looking to start a business they might not know what I’m talking about. For those who started a business form the ground up probably understand this more than they want to admit. Along with starting your own company and just like everything in life you need to be disciplined. I was told this when I started and I thought I had all of the answers and the discipline needed. A few months ago reality set in. I started to starve a little and we saw our hot start with lots of business fade. We went a couple months with no sales. We were busy so I was focusing on the client service side and I let the prospecting slide. I said I’ll do 5-10 a day and that should be good enough. Man was I wrong. The pipeline and forecast both looked like gray skies and rain all day for months (that’s an analogy in case you didn’t pick up on it). I let up on networking, relied on the wrong people, and basically did all of the things everyone tells you not to do. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I got a little lazy, had a lot of freedom, and thought all of the opportunities we had would close. Once reality set in I realized what I needed to do. The question is am I too late?
I needed to Turn It On Now. I should have turned it on in the very beginning though. The question I ask myself is, “would I have had this coming to and understanding that I have now if I didn’t fear and feel failure creeping in?” Regardless, no one should need to feel that.
When you set out on a journey to start your own business don’t let the freedom get in your way and don’t rely on anyone but yourself. Put your head down, network like hell, call and connect with as many people as possible, connect those people to people, ask for referrals, do small jobs, build a portfolio, ask for testimonials, ask for advice, and be honest with yourself.
People say it’s a marathon when starting a business not a sprint. I actually disagree (I’m a runner so I can). In a marathon you pace yourself and then sprint at the end to leave it all out on the course. Business is more like sprinting a marathon. You better have the endurance or find a way to will it out of you. Good luck fellow entrepreneurs. Don’t be careless with your dreams.
If this has every happened to anyone else please send us your comments. We’d love to hear from you.