Let me know if this sounds like you. You wake up and you are more confident than ever. You are convinced that is the right time to start thinking seriously how you can make your dreams come true and build your own startup.
You grab a coffee or tea and start checking your emails. However the thought of been your own boss is so fascinating that doesn’t allow you to focus on you emails.
Its weekend, you call some friends and arrange going out for lunch. You are in the restaurant, start sharing with them your thoughts and how you visualize your startup will be. You are more passionate than ever. A friend of yours ask you; did you consider this “X” factor?
You replied to him not yet but I will figure it out along the way; good answer. As the discussion unfolds some constructive questions takes place with some concerns that you are friends have. Those comments are not exaggerations but legitimate thoughts that someone can have.
You go back home, and a little voice in your head tell you:
Do I need to postpone my plans?
Am I enough prepared?
All of sudden your dream start becoming blur and the little voice loudly ask you:
But what If I fail?
But what if you had a crystal ball and could predict the future thus no way you could fail?
Can this be true?
Can you predict the future with any contemporary business tool?
There is no such thing as predict the future
Back to reality I want to clear things from the very beginning. Whoever tries to convince us that with any fancy modern analytical tool we can predict the future with great accuracy, he is either simply doesn’t know what he is talking about, or try to outsmart us.
Having said that, of course with the proper usage of certain analytical models and tools you can identify strong trends and indicators of where things going but 1st this process is lengthy and 2nd it takes time and 3rd is not 100% for sure, is not even close to that number.
Therefore nothing relevant to us, provided that our startups have to be bootstrapped, agile, and super flexible given the nature that startups operate in (as it in is indicated often in the most of my blog posts). Namely, a fast-paced environment full of uncertainties and unknowns.
You might reply to me, ok what is the solution?
As always the solution that I would suggest is nothing groundbreaking or novel; is simply the method that is utilized by any professional company that doesn’t want to gamble with their future regardless their business life-cycle and the most important of all it really works.
The solution; (A personal) Scenario Analysis
I am sure this concept is nothing new to you. Nonetheless we’ll employ that concept in a personal and not business level.
In the following few paragraphs I will attempt to articulate that concept as comprehensively and clearly as possible.
Josh Kaufman outline Scenario Analysis as: “Instead of trying to predict the future with 100% accuracy, Scenario Planning can help you prepare for many different possible futures”.
If I could paraphrase the above interpretation of Scenario Analysis, and furthermore utilize it from a personal perspective I would say the following. Given that is not feasible to foresee how things will evolve with your startup, what you could do is to create 3 different Scenarios (worst, moderate and best) and prepare personally for each one of them in advance and act accordingly for each respective case if happens.
Namely, you have to pre-define in advance what actions need to take place immediately by you in a targeted way after each one of that scenario occurs.
The Doomsday Scenario effect
In a Doomsday Scenario as Josh Kaufman put’s it“you assume everything that can go wrong does go wrong. When you actually examine your worst fears, you’ll discover that things won’t be as bad as you fear. Once you’ve imagined your Doomsday Scenario, you can start doing things to improve upon the worst case”.
I focus on the worst-case Scenario (Doomsday Scenario), because is the root cause of the anxiety of the vast majority of young aspiring entrepreneurs.
If for example your worst case scenario indicates that your startup will go under (hope not but this is the nature of Scenario Planning prepare for everything) you have to determine which actions need to take place by you, right away to avoid this event cause you any real personal troubles.
Does that action mean that you have to find immediately a job? If yes how you can secure having this option if that effect happens. Don’t just create imaginative actions but in the contrary these actions need to have a solid foundation, a pragmatic nature and to be ridiculous detailed.
This process will take time but will offer your certainty and confidence that even that Doomsday Scenario occurs will have an answer and not get panicked. This will have as a result to not let your worse fears, doubt’s, and what if’s take over your mind and cause you to put your dreams and ambitions on hold and leave later to become never.
Therefore if the question But what If I fail? appear again, you will have a clear response; if I fail I will do this, this and that and put your worries at bay.
As Tim Feriss describes often, the most of that doomsday scenarios even if they happen they have a reversible nature and with certain actions you can put things back on control.
I want to be frank with you. As a person I am freak control (my friends can validate that point…..) and whenever in the past something occurred and changed my plans I was in a state of frustration, overwhelmed and I couldn’t calm regardless my efforts. I am not trying to sell you this idea, but this concept personally had a huge positive impact on me and I wish to have on you as well.
That’s it for now, I wish to convince you for the need of each one of us to have its own personal Scenario Analysis.
Please share with us what is your personal Doomsday Scenario and how you plan to tackle it if happen?
“He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass.”— Edgar R. Fiedler, noted economist