I often compare a new business journey to that classic scene in a film where they use a lie detector test machine. You know, where the needle is going up and down like the clappers and beads of sweat appear on the brow of the person being interrogated.
Your new biz screams ‘polygraph reading’ too. It’s all over the shop: a continual path of highs and lows, each vacillating so quickly you barely get the chance to enjoy or to be demotivated by either. It’s exhilarating and / or enough to put you off. It creates an extremely crowded headspace for owners and can be overwhelming, regardless of rational long-term forecast.
Many founders walk away at this stage – not because their product market fit is ‘off’ but because they simply cannot handle the uncertainty and continual course-correction required to keep your head level.
A million business books will tell you that your business plan steadies your nerves and leads to success. What they fail to tell you is that you’ll need to continually review and reflect on the plan for quite some time.
So how to deal with this early-stage feeling of overwhelm; of madness?
Perhaps it’s helpful to view this post-launch period as a ‘live testing phase’.
Market forces are converging with the business and interacting with it in a variety of ways. It is your job to remain objective and interpret the activity to help you shape your offering or plan going forward. This objectivity helps with your sanity and allows you to make better decisions for the business.
Is everything feeling like a massive mess? Take heart: very rarely does a business remain exactly as you’d envisaged.
You’ll often read that the plan is crucial… but more often than not, your plan will go to sh*t! And bad day or week is difficult to manage, especially when there’s money at stake. It can leave you feeling uncertain.
Anyone who thinks that equipping themselves with a business plan will guarantee them a linear path is kidding themselves.
My advice? Have the plan, roll with the punches. Train hard, fight easy. Most importantly, take regular assessments with a cool head. The facts don’t lie.