If you've ever started a business or been part of one, you've been through the "honeymoon" period. This is the period where you are in love with your idea and its potential. It's where you see it coming together and gaining traction, maybe even getting your first customers. Oh, the excitement, the anticipation, the "we're going to own the market with this thing" visions in your head; they are all real and part of what makes being an entrepreneur so much fun.
But, what happens when that period is over? Recently, I was talking with a young entrepreneur who started a niche business less than 6 months ago. They conceived of the product, created it, found and setup a distribution facility and system, got it to the first page on Amazon for their category, did a great job marketing, established an initial following, already have repeat customers, and have positive cash flow coming in every month. But, they said that they had lost some of their passion for it and were now going to start another business.
What? This is a classic example of the honeymoon period ending...and when the real work should begin.
As I asked this young entrepreneur more questions about why they wanted to jump from what is a budding successful business already; they gave me some reasons. But once I dug deeper, it came down to a couple of things. First, they had gotten a few bad reviews and they took it personally. Second, their product is an all natural product and some customers didn't find it worked for them. When I asked what the ratio was of people who liked it to who didn't, it was infinitely small.
So, here was an entrepreneur about to kill a business they worked so hard on, with a proven market and positive cash flow, so they could move on to the "next big idea."
Here's the dirty secret that I told them and I'll share with you. Big ideas are a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of them. What makes an idea big and successful is execution, period.
A lot of entrepreneurs fall into a trap of jumping into one business after another once the honeymoon period is over and never take the next step to truly execute and maximize the potential of the business. This is why 99% of businesses never reach $1 million in annual revenues. They are never given a chance!
Big ideas are a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of them. What makes an idea big and successful is execution, period.
The entrepreneur and I talked a little further and discussed some ideas on what they could be doing now to take the business to the next level.
I'll share some of the overarching ones here so you can make sure you don't fall into the same trap...
Treat Your Startup Like A Newborn Baby
Parents will do anything for their children and we can learn from this example when it comes to a startup or business. The example I gave the entrepreneur is if they had a child and the child had an issue or was born with one; they would go to the ends of the earth to either fix it or make the situation the best it can be. It's the same with your start-up or business, it will never be perfect. There will always be something that can make it better. But, are you treating it like you would your child? Have you exhausted every last possibility or avenue to make it successful? Have you executed on everything you know you can and should be doing? For most, the answer is "no" and that is where you need to start.
In the case of this entrepreneur, they were letting a few bad reviews overshadow the good that their product was doing and all the happy customers. All they needed to do is work on a couple things and they can better the product (they stated they are already knew what they needed to do). Once this is done, they can go back to all of the clients that bought and didn't feel the product worked or didn't like it and give them a free sample of the new version and ask for their thoughts. Inevitably, the customers will like the new version and become fans again. Imagine taking someone who didn't like your product and turning them into a fan and a customer. That is marketing gold!!
When You Get Uncomfortable, Double Down
Another thing that came out of the conversation was that this entrepreneur was doubting their abilities. They weren't sure they had the ability to take the business to the next level. They were self-sabotaging because they had gotten uncomfortable.
This is a very real, and common, scenario with entrepreneurs. When people get uncomfortable, they revert back to what they know or what makes them comfortable. In this entrepreneur's case, they had gone through the process of starting the business, so they were comfortable doing that. But they had never run a business or had to keep it going once off the ground, which made them question themselves and revert back to what they knew - starting a business. This is why they wanted to move on and start something else - because it's what they know how to do and it would give that feeling of excitement again.
The mind is incredibly powerful, especially the subconscious, and it can run you without you even knowing it. In this case, their subconscious was keeping them in their comfort zone and not letting them break free to the next level.
When you find yourself in a place like this in your startup or business, double down on everything. Double down on your work, your sales, your marketing, everything. You are just about to break through a major barrier and grow yourself and your business to another level. It iss not easy at this stage and it is not flashy...it's work and it pays off big time.
Commit and Persevere
You've heard this a hundred times, but after reading above, maybe it has given a better perspective - you have to commit. You have to truly commit yourself to your "baby." You can't quit at the first sign of adversity. You can't give up when you have a setback (or the many that you will have on your entrepreneurial journey). You have to persevere through it and keep getting up and going at it hard every day. Most people never truly commit to things. The minute they get in and something goes wrong, they are looking for the way out.
It takes a lot to stay in and take the beating of the journey every day, especially in the beginning or during tough times. But, if you can persevere through those issues and setbacks, and commit to exhausting every avenue and potential opportunity; you'll succeed. It doesn't matter how good your idea is, you'll succeed because you executed and didn't stop where most others do.
What will happen with this entrepreneur? Time will tell, but if they re-commit to their startup, they will certainly be able to overcome these challenges both in the business and in their head. And when they do, they will find their business at levels they may not have ever imagined.