Surviving the entrepreneurship roller coaster (Part 2)

Marek

Continued from Surviving the entrepreneurship roller coaster (Part 1)

What is sure is that this so-called “uninformed optimism” starts to dwindle when your plans are confronted with the market. Time and speed can vary. Here one can see who has the strength of character.

The disappearance of optimism is directly proportional to the increase of knowledge. Most entrepreneurs have a problem with saying goodbye to their expectations. Psychologists claim that in fact this is one of the most tough to handle processes: leaving our own illusions behind.

Having the knowledge means that we are entering Crisis of Meaning phase. Speaking like a human being, I’m sorry for the entrepreneurs who are in this stage. Speaking like a businessman, it is indispensable.

Even if this text starts to look like something from a parenting blog, well I can’t find other comparisons. I need to say this: in this stage you either grow or die. Some call this period “The Valley of Death” (referring to the company’s life cycle).

Everyone has doubts at this stage. There are thousands of thoughts rambling in our head: “Maybe I’m too weak”; “maybe my idea is hopeless or non-feasible”: “maybe I’m too early to enter the market (or too late)”.

It’s all natural human fear. For a vast majority of entrepreneurs, the most important catalyst is the fact that they are running out of money. This situation triggers something primitive in us.

The responsible managers worry about how they will pay the salaries. The less responsible ones worry about paying the next installment of their personal loan. The ambitious ones experience the fear of admitting defeat. This is the moment that I described in the very beginning: “bigheads” (uninformed optimists) are being slapped in the face.

When I mentioned looking for an ideal entrepreneur, I’m sure it would be someone who could deal with all above-mentioned circumstances. You probably expect me to give you the recipe for this. I don’t know it. Frankly, I don’t even believe that such a recipe exists.

There are three simple things you should however focus on:

1. Do your job well, plan the next steps, and act. The worst thing you can do is to surrender to fear, to let it paralyze your actions. There is no guarantee of success – do everything; the worst thing you could do is stop acting. If you do this then you will reproach yourself for not taking any actions.

2. Cash – which comes from selling the products or services, is the remedy for all fears. I love the phrase uttered by Eric Schmidt: “revenue solves all known problems”. Go to the market and sell as fast as you can.

3. The last thing is realising that our fears and anxieties are normal feelings that have been experienced and is being experienced by all entrepreneurs; even the famous ones that you admire.

I’m not going to concentrate on the “Informed Optimism” phase. I wish you all perseverance in achieving this stage. There is no point in writing about simple things.

I have two more remarks. Nothing is given forever and achieving the dreamt-about success (Informed Optimism stage) doesn’t mean the eternal bliss. Once the environment, circumstances, and the actions of our competitions changes, you fall again in the state of lack of knowledge and then … yes. Welcome once again on the rollercoaster 🙂

The optimism that results from ignorance is treacherous and naive. Sure. There is still one thing that is worse than that: it is the so-called “uninformed pessimism”. Which is the state that paralyzes all initiatives: I don’t know why but I’m sure that it won’t work well.

It is better to be optimistically naive than pessimistically stupid. Which I wish to myself and to you all 🙂

Acknowledgments and Sources: I drew lots of concrete info from Cameron Herlod’s blog and I strongly recommend it to anyone willing to dive deeper into the rollercoaster case.

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