The Dip book has really reaffirmed my long standing (and often criticized) belief that not everything can be fixed with hard work, or at least may not be worth the time investment. However, I disagree that it’s a black and white case of stick with winners or kill the losers. There is a lot of room in the middle, especially in business, where there are other options. You can read Seth’s excellent book on his take about why people don’t know when to quit, but since you are here, let me offer you mine.
In a nutshell: Over the large sample of transactions, there are some in which you are the fucker, or you’re getting fucked. Thats the reality of business, you win some, you lose some, and in the middle you’re just trying to turn something into a winner or find the least expensive way to kill it. Over the course of time you will lose and win – the key to making it big is making sure the wins are big.
Not much to say here except congratulations. Just don’t get arrogant about it. See _every rapper that ever lived_.
S*** happens. Move on.
This is the big gray area in the middle that requires a lot of consideration because world is not black and white. If you’re in a difficult situation you have some decisions to make.
Planning & Evaluation
So, your plan failed. Ok, don’t panic, sit back and lets look at it. Before you decide where you go, you need to find out where you want to go. Or not go. The thing is, before you decide you need to evaluate all your options. Here are the key one in any arrangement, at least as far as I am concerned.
Whats in it for me?
Do you have anything to gain if you stick with the current course of action? Is this a personal gain in monetary terms or are you just doing it for your ego?
Do I control the outcome?
This is the question you need to answer because it controls the outcome more than anything else. Truth is, if you are in control no amount of hard work is going to fix this because someone else controls the outcome – not in direct terms but indirect terms like satisfaction, timing, etc.
What else at stake?
Is it just your ego that will get bruised or will it be your business? Will it be your business in the short term or are you going to lose revenues for years and years after giving up on this project. Does it impact you indirectly (reputation) or directly (revenue).
Now that you’ve answered those questions and hopefully decided whether you’re going to continue down the road, it’s time for actions and time to establish the new plan (because if the old one worked you’d never be in this spot to begin with).
Once you have a new plan to make it out of your dip, put them in play. But its not quite as simple, you’ll have a few things that are guaranteed to happen:
Tears and paralyzing fear
We all have these. The feeling of despair, the feeling of inadequacy, the feeling that if you just got a day or two of good sleep, or a break, somehow the problems would magically go away. They don’t. But it’s a stage, deal with it in the best way you can and get back to the problem as quickly as possible.
Know the outcome and stick with it
Remember, you need a new plan. Adjust your timelines, adjust your expectations, adjust your schedule, adjust your promises – whatever you gotta do to make it happen.
Or hell, kill it now
And if all else fails, just kill it.
Key to success
You win some, you lose many. Not really a pesimistic view but let’s look at a case of a sure way to go broke: Las Vegas coin slots. On the average, the wins are tiny. Losses compound over time and are exponential at least by comparison to the losses. This is why the casino advertises 97% payouts, bags of money, etc: Because people are stupid and like to dream about winning!
The key to success is to win big. To hit the jackpot. There are plenty of business contracts that you will enter into where you’ll certainly get the short end of the stick. You’re the -ed in this case. And here is what separates the winners from the maraginal successes and the losers:
Winners stick to it.
Losers cut out too quick.
Marginal successes try to curb both the winning and the losing, in the end really having nothing of value.
This applies to a lot of the SMB IT folks out there. What’s the biggest and best trade tip for a profitable SMB business? Kill the B,C,D,F clients and only keep those A clients. After all, who the hell cares about the deadbeats, difficult business owners, whine, bitch, moan, repeat. If I had a penny every time I got that advice. I tend to look them straight in the eye and ask them: How do you grow your business. Nine out of ten times they say its the word of mouth: Ok, quick – what kind of word of mouth do you get when you fire a client because they are too difficult to make a profit on? 🙂
See how that works? The people that try to cut and run in the short term end up with mediocre or even non-existent wins in the long term. Sure, it’s better than the folks that stick their head in the sand and end up bankrupt, but if you’re looking to be a winner this is not the way to go about it. Business, and entreprenurial enterprise itself, is a game of risks. Sometimes you lose, but if you can win big you can afford to lose more often.
Thats at least how I live.