Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. This may strike you as pessimistic, but when it comes to launching a business, it is incredibly pragmatic. Throughout my career I have started a half a dozen businesses, and I noticed the same phenomenon with every single one of them. Everything I did took twice as long as I thought it would, cost twice as much, and was twice as hard to accomplish. That lesson was hard learned the first time around. It lead to a lot of frustration and sleepless nights, but ever since then the journey has become incrementally easier.
You see, the fatal flaw that most business owners make is expecting everything to go well. As soon as they encounter something that goes wrong, they either stay the course and wind up driving right over a cliff, or abandon the journey completely. I understand the impulse…nothing is more stressful than a plan falling apart around you. But instead of panicking and seeking safe ground whenever something in one of my businesses goes wrong, I have convinced myself to anticipate the collapse.
You see, now I rely on Murphy’s Law. I expect things to go wrong. I build myself a meticulous timeline, budget, a development plan, but internally I know that everything I put together is going to change. Somewhere along the line, I am going to have to write a huge check, wait on some sort of delay, and generally just live with the frustration that the plan I put together isn’t doing me any good. Similarly, if I even suspect that a piece of the business is going to present a challenge, I just work that challenge into my expectations.
You may think it is neurotic, overly-cautious, or just plan negative, but the truth of the matter is that the best course of action is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. It’s like going on a hike. Sure you can hope for a sunny day, but you had better pack an umbrella just in case. And while you’re at it, grab some extra water, a map, and maybe a compass just in case you get lost. Why leave it to fate? Plan for the worst so that even when it occurs, you can handle it just fine.
If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. But if you’ve got the correct tools and expectations at your disposal, you can get yourself back on the right track without missing a beat.