Every day is a rollercoaster for any entrepreneur, but for those who are in it for the big exit, except for the very lucky few, there comes a time when you realize that its just not going to happen. Predicting and planning for the death of the dream can be difficult, but here are a few things that entrepreneurs should consider:
- Reformulate, reformulate, reformulate – when Starbucks had more than five locations, they didn’t even sell hot coffee. It took them years to get it right, and when they did, they really got it right. Companies don’t really fail, strategies fail, so you’ve got to reformulate.
- Rewind your clock – it’s likely that the company you’re leading today looks nothing like what you thought it would. This is probably because you didn’t really have a clue when you got started, but it may also be because you had to compromise your dream at different time. If you made smart changes, fine, but if you compromised, go back to that original dream and see if its still worth pursuing.
- Plan your next move – When you’ve reached your psychological failure point, there’s no turning back. You’ve either got to shut it down or move on to something else. Even if your partners think there is something there, they’ll never be able to convince you otherwise, so there’s not reason to pursue something just can’t believe.
- Change your appetite for risk – If you’re failing, you might as well do something dramatic or crazy to see if it works. Many companies have little to lose, and this is a perfect time to try that crazy idea you dreamed up months ago but never thought anyone would go for it.
- Consider salvage value – if you’re company is going to sink, consider how you might salvage some of the value. Mega corporations pay big bucks to people who can minimize losses, and there’s no reason that you can’t do the same.
Entrepreneurs don’t give up easily, so I know that dying dreams are contradictory to a small subset of these people—which is a great thing. Yet still, most hit a point where they know that their business is going to be only average and that they aren’t going to get that bix exit they were shooting for. Tread carefully if and when you get there, because this is where an average leader gets their opportunity to obtain hero status by planning and executing an excellent backup plan.