October 19th 2016:
My business is launching December 1st and I haven’t had a panic attack yet. #winning
“You are thinking to small, I would not want to invest in that.” Said Donald Coccia, my New Venture Creation professor.
“What do you mean too small?” I retorted back.
October 20th 2016:
Never mind currently having a panic attack.
Too small? What was he even talking about. Coccia is my professor, in a class where we have to launch a business by the end of the semester.
(Perfect timing for me because I was already going to launch a business by the end of this year.)
I met with him after class to lay out my business plan that I worked so hard to create. Honestly I fell in love with my idea and most important I could sustain it! I figured out how many customers I would need and everything. He looked over it looked me in my eye and shook his head disapprovingly. I was shocked.
See in my head, I want my business to survive. I need to make enough to cover the cost of creating it and if I make anything more that would be nice. I never really thought about exceeding the cover cost, I just wanted to break even.
But Prof. Coccia wanted me to thrive. “You got to have a plan to upscale your business, you can’t pitch an idea about just meeting the bare minimum. No one wants to invest in that; you have to sell a dream.”
Woah. Here I was thinking the best way to break even and now I should be thinking about getting even bigger? I couldn’t even imagine thinking bigger than what was already in my head.
Coccia told me to make a pitch for a potential investor, not only showing the superiority of my product but to show how big it can get because it's superior. In simple terms, what makes your idea the next big thing.
Although I did not need an investor (as of right now) I still needed to make a plan if my business does go past my initial goal. I am extremely hesitant to think big, because of the fear of failure. What if I make an elaborate plan and my business never takes off and I don’t even break even. Then I would have wasted so much time and effort.
“90% Of Startups Fail: Here's What You Need To Know About The 10%,” I stumbled upon this article on Forbes website. Great, I thought, just great, the chances of me failing is almost 100%.
The article is about the difference of successful and unsuccessful start-ups. It starts off by explaining most entrepreneurs are too optimistic, I got excited because I wasn't. I’m more of a realist. It continued to list things like, "the product is perfect for the market and the entrepreneur does not ignore anything."
I fit these two criteria perfectly. It was the third bullet that stumped me, “the company grows fast.” I hadn’t previously anticipated growing fast at all, but you should want to grow fast and bigger. It was peculiar to me how much I didn't want to grow into a massive business. That requires taking chances, something I’m not too sure I am comfortable with.
The irony of it all is that no business actually fails because regardless if it’s afloat or not, you gain knowledge about having a business.
The beauty in start-ups is that failure does not mean you fail, it means you need to reiterate and go back to your market. Failing in life is inevitable, but taking that failure or disappointment and learning from it is the real key to succeeding.
I thought about every job, college and internship I applied for and didn’t get; I felt bad about them but I could see my faults and the reasoning behind me not getting them. This is no different. So I could be lose thousands of dollars, spent endless amounts of time creating and invest 110% of myself and I could still fail. (Insert asterisk) But, you can never fail, you just learn.
The last bullet in the piece was about knowing how to recover from a blow and being versatile, a.k.a. public relations, multiple business plans and a box of tissues.
I sat, I pondered, I went to work.
Thinking back, I had self-doubt that clearly spilled into my mindset tainting it. Get out your comfort zone and put mind over matter. You can do it, just believe in yourself.
I now have a business model for every stage my business could be in at any given moment. I even created a pitch just in case I would need an investor. I also created a PR plan because everyone should have one (and to think that I thought taking that PR class my sophomore year was a waste of time.)
Getting out your comfort zone and thinking beyond today is difficult but it is vital when starting a business. Your idea on growing big may not become a reality, but having it in case you do can save you so much time and money in the future. Not to mention, you can get more money, from investors, when they see that you are an innovative, goal-oriented, prepared business owner.
I have reached a point where I was all in and ready to grow.
P.S. I am 21 now
Song - Hero (Cudelsac)
"Anything I put my mind to I accomplish it"
- Childish Gambino