Business is NOT a DO OR DIE kind of thing.
I came across an article about how effective it is to have NO PLAN B in a business. I respect the writer’s strong point of view but for me, it is not practical. Why did I say that? Well, I learned it the hard way. I was taught by the best teacher, experience.
When I started thinking about becoming a business owner I told myself that I want to be a baker and own a bakery. I thought that since I have so much passion for cake making, I would do anything in my power to make it a very successful business, failing will never be in sight. I became obsessed with this idea and just think about it all the time, what cakes should I make, how will I develop my portfolio, I want to attend baking expositions and just put my name out there and become like the Cake Boss. With these passion, energy, and vision I have, I started working my way up to where I want to be. I invested so much money in buying tools, ingredients, professional cake books and equipment. When I started my baking business it started really well, I managed to get a lot of customers in a short time with the help of my family, friends, and colleagues. From 1 customized cake a week to 2 cakes a week, then the numbers just keep rising and even the products I have increased. I started selling cupcakes, cake balls, cookies, and tarts. It was really good and the next thing in mind was to expand my business and really have my main goal which is to open a bakery. I never thought of any negative situations like, what if I ran out of customers, what will be my plan? What if the entire ingredients price rise up, how I can I still have profit? What if my main supplier closes, where will I get my supplies? These thoughts crossed my mind, but I just brushed them off because I don’t want to see where my business will go if it fails. I don’t want to see all my hard work and efforts go down the drain.
After a short-time since I started my cake gig, I started feeling pain in my left hand. I ignored the pain and told myself that it’s just a simple and common strain caused by tiredness. Until the day I got an order for a 3-Tier Topsy Turvy Circus Cake, while I was working on the fondant to be covered to the biggest tier, I heard a cracking sound in my hand and it was damn painful. I literally screamed and cried. I cannot stop as I need to finish the cake for my friend’s daughter. After that incident, I didn’t even bother to rest and still continued baking cakes. At the same time, my hand pain is getting worse; I don’t want to entertain the thought that I have to stop baking, it’s never going to be an option for me. The most dreadful day arrived that I have to go through a surgery for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Surgery went well and my hand is going to be fine the next day, at least, that’s what my doctor said. It’s been 7 months and my left hand is still paining and the pain has moved to the different section in my hand. It’s really devastating. Now I cannot bake anymore. I wish I had a PLAN B. I wish that I have entertained the thoughts of asking myself with hundreds of “What If?”.
Having a PLAN B for the business is essential for it will help us to make a wise decision in case of something negative happens. In IT standard, it is called Service Continuity. If a disaster occurs, then a business can switch to Disaster Recovery.
Let me cite some common “What If?” question every business owner like me should ask:
1. What if my supplier closes? Some businesses that I know off closed because their main supplier closed. They didn’t have backup supplier thus their business operation was impacted. They cannot keep up with the demands from consumers because they cannot find another supplier that gives the same price for materials and services they require to run their business.
What’s my PLAN B? Well, have another supplier and build a trusted business relationship with them.
2. What if my supplier doesn’t have a material in stock? How many stores have you been through that doesn’t have a stock of your most important supply? I have been through a lot.
What’s my PLAN B? Have a list of stores that will probably have the same supplies or better yet, next time manage my inventory properly so I would know beforehand if my supplies will be finished soon.
3. What if my products will not sell much online? There are entrepreneurs I know that solely rely on the Internet. Many times, the sales online are not even enough to pay for the monthly eCommerce platform fee they are using.
What’s my PLAN B? Open a shop where there is huge foot traffic. In this way, my products will be exposed and people will be familiar with what I am selling.
4. What if my business fails? Well, we have to be honest and face the reality that some businesses fail, no matter what the reason for failure is.
What’s my PLAN B then? Harsh as it may sound; but yes we need to think of this scenario as well. It’s either I sell my business and venture into a new one or go back to having a 9-6 day job.
We have to think of the worse-comes-to-worst kind of scenarios. It will help us to think of strategies and tactics to make our businesses stronger and more successful. Yes, it will instigate fear in us, that one day we may lose our business but think this way, will make us even more passionate and driven to not to ever get to the direction of failure.
Some people may think that business is a gamble but it is not. When you thought of having a business at first, you never thought of failure, you became obsessed with its success. It’s NOT a “do-or-die” thing, for me, it’s a “try-and-try-until-you-succeed” kind of thing. You will not invest so much money, efforts, sweat, blood, and emotion into something and give it up when you face an obstacle. If you think this way, you may need to consider being an entrepreneur, as entrepreneurship is not a piece of cake.
Lots of Love,