By Elizabeth Pekin
In a new business, the preparation is key. Our business was launched over my kitchen table on a shoestring budget. When we left our prior company my business partners and I did not have any idea what the future would hold. We jumped off a cliff without a landing spot.
However, I believe that our positive attitudes and belief in ourselves and our new business made success an absolute. My learning experience can hopefully help the next startup launch their idea or new business. Here is what I know…
Failure is not an option.
There was never a moment when we said, “If the business is launched…” We always used the term “When.”
When you are raising money for a new business, any doubt will result in a lack of confidence. This insecurity will show up when you are networking, meeting people who can help and mentor you, or pitching your business idea to potential investors. Believe and you will succeed!
What’s the worst that can happen?
My partners and I used this phrase about everything. We would brainstorm ideas and then always say, “What is the worst that can happen?” Worst-case scenario, we call this investor and he or she hangs up on us–and then we just pick the phone up and try again. Worst-case scenario we move our families across the country to launch our business (which we did) and it is a disaster–and then we move back. On and on…this is how we made each and every decision throughout the process.
When you fall down pick yourself back up.
There will be failures. We had meetings that didn’t go well, ideas that we could not implement due to cost restrictions, and everyday challenges that resulted in disappointments. However, we never wallowed in failure. We always searched for the “glass half full” next step.
The investors we were convinced would be our partners did not end up presenting us with a deal we could accept. So we picked up the phone and called 10 more investment firms and set up meetings which eventually resulted in us raising millions of dollars in capital to launch our business.
There will be highs and lows.
The highs will be high and the lows will be low. Remember, it is important to live in the moment. Looking back for us was never an option. We named our business “Momentum” because life is all about moving forward. When you have a failure, learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. When you have a success celebrate it!
Your personal life will go through a metamorphosis.
Jeff Hyman, an entrepreneur who has a blog called the Startup Therapist, says a big part of balancing everything is being fanatical about your priorities and then scale back. We sweated the small stuff and then let some of the details work themselves out.
Live in the moment. Have fun!
I travel a lot for business. Wherever I go, I meet interesting people and find that incredibly invigorating. Talk to everyone on the road: waitresses, rental car employees, the gas station attendant. You never know where these conversations will lead.
Our holiday office party was in a restaurant. I asked the waitress about herself. She told me she has two jobs. When I asked her what her “day job” was it turned out she worked for one of our clients! This waitress could bring in additional business to our company.
Positive energy is everything.
If you channel positive energy, it will come back to you and will change your life. While traveling for business recently, I was delayed in the St. Louis airport for a connection through Atlanta. I was frustrated as I had been living out of a suitcase for too long and desperately wanted to get home to my family. Instead of letting the negative energy of this seemingly unchangeable circumstance take over, I decided to see if I could change the situation with positive energy.
We had a one-hour mechanical delay that would have caused me to miss my connection. I asked the gate attendant if I could use positive energy and enthusiasm to help load the flight more quickly. He chuckled and pointed to the depressed looking group of weary travelers and said, “Ma’am, go ahead…but good luck. Look at what you are dealing with.”
I grabbed the microphone and smiled and addressed the crowd. I explained to them that if we all worked together to load the plane more quickly we could possibly make our connections. I cheered them on as the passengers gradually began to smile. The next thing I knew I had them lined up with their coats off and boarding passes in hand. They all high-fived me as they quickly boarded–and we got to Atlanta 20 minutes ahead of schedule and I made the flight!
Relax, rewind, reflect.
As we completed year one of our business, we have made a conscious effort to slow down to take a breather. We want to assess where we are, what we’ve done well and what we haven’t, what were the best decisions we made, what were bad decisions, and what needs a little tweaking. With these findings, we are now off to write the plan for year two.