In the book, ‘The Richest Man Than Ever Lived" by Steven J Scott, he quoted a Bible verse from Proverbs 11v14 which says: “Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counsellors there is victory.” This means that whenever you have a project, the first thing to do is to pursue the counsel of those who have generated results by following the journey upon which you are about to embark.
What does this have to do with 'Start Your Business Before You Start Your Business'?
Starting a business is a lot more than simply writing a business plan. There are many considerations to be set in place before you actually start product testing and documenting the idea in the form of a business plan. When many people think about Bill Gates, they think Microsoft is what made him successful, but this is not the case. The deal with IBM was what confirmed his success. He was already positioned for success by the time he had his meeting with IBM. The question to consider is what did he do in the pre-start stage that ensured he was positioned for success.
I will give you two for now:
- He had developed very good discipline and problem solving techniques.
- He had a trusted partner (Paul Allen) working with him.
Sometimes I see people starting in business who have zero personal discipline and they dream about success. Even if you make money, you will eventually waste that resource because the necessary attribute to delay gratification was not in place when you started your business.
A school piloted something called the 'Marshmallow experiment', where the children were told to wait until the teacher returned to the room and they would receive two marshmallows, or they could choose to eat the one in front of them. A year later, all those who waited were found to be more successful, happy and prosperous than those who could not wait.
The mistake many people make is considering that a good idea is all they need to start a business. I am definitely not negating good ideas from the equation but I am absolutely saying that there are many other more important attributes that must be put in place before you start a business, otherwise the project will self-destruct or under-perform at best.
Going back to the Bill Gates and Paul Allen (his partner) example, you will notice that many individuals today do not seek partners or co-founders until they have started trading. At this stage it is much more difficult to test the partner or have an in-depth knowledge of the person (I am not saying that finding a good partner is impossible but it is difficult).
- What would happen if you could test your 'potential partner'?
- If you had prolonged interaction with one another, would you be able to determine the person's core gifts and abilities?
- Wouldn't that be a great advantage and a prerequisite to a successful business venture?
Those thinking of starting a business who are reading this article are at a better advantage than I was. You now have the time to explore and experience some of these critical factors so that you can work on them at the pre-start stage. Once these are in place, you increase your probability of success from 10-20% to 80-90% success.