Post #2 - By Failing to Prepare You Are Preparing to Fail
While this is a cliché, it’s a well-worn cliché for a reason - Planning, is an absolute must.
Whether it’s a tricky sales meeting, an after dinner speech, a conference presentation or an investor meeting, planning is everything. Did you know, a 7 year old's soccer team generally does more practice than most people do in business situations. It has always baffled me - why would you do that? You need to give yourself every possible chance to succeed. Over the years at RFi Group I’ve done lots of confronting and daunting presentations and even my most dreaded situations, (Live TV - I don’t think will ever get entirely comfortable with it!) have been relatively easy, and I emphasise the relativity. This is only because I have tried in advance to practice how I am going to react to every possible question, potential outcome or variation. I believe it’s possible, especially if you’re selling your own idea or product, to predict pretty much every possible response or question you might get and to work out in advance what your best answer is. Even better (and I tell the RFi team this all the time) if you’re going into a big meeting, think of the three things you absolutely don’t want to be asked – then work through how you would respond to those, practice your responses and I guarantee the meeting will always be easier than you have imagined. Plan, prepare and practice – the three key Ps. You simply can’t do too much of any of them.
Another tip - When you do practice, make sure that you practice out loud. Things often sound better or different in your head, to when you say them out loud. Building a business is great fun but enormously challenging – you will frequently fail and will have to learn from it each time BUT the one thing that is unacceptable and makes your life harder than it ever needs to be, is to fail because you didn’t prepare properly! Sometimes you only get one shot at a particular opportunity so don’t blow it by failing to prepare.
When you start a business, if you think it’s going to take 6 months to get any revenue in, then plan for no revenue for 12 months. If that doesn’t work, go back to the drawing board. If you think you might run into legal issues (which happens a lot with previous employers) then ask yourself, have you put some money aside to deal with it? Have you spoken to a lawyer about the best angle and likely outcome? Do you have a first customer or client lined up? What happens if they fall over? What’s your back up plan, or Plan B? What about a Plan C, or even Plan D? Trust me, especially at the start, you need at least a plan A to G! The more you have worked through the likely outcomes and how you will react to each one, the better. However when you’re first starting up don’t suffer planning paralysis. Once you think you have a relatively good handle on it – just get out into the market. The quickest and best way to build a product is to get an attempt out there so you can start to see as quickly as possible what works and what doesn’t work – which brings me to a minimum viable product, my next topic…
If you like this blog, find it useful, or think it’s interesting, please share it and if you have any questions at all please feel free to comment – I am always open to a conversation.