Is Your Greatest Idea Still on a Napkin?
“The greatest ideas are still left on napkins,” said a friend over lunch. These words stuck with me like some ugly unwelcome platitude. The more I tried to ignore them, the more they nagged at me. My ultimate fear is to go to my grave with my greatest idea still left on a napkin. What holds us back from pursuing our dreams? Here’s where I have landed on pursuing new business or ministry ideas.
I don’t like risk, but I’m willing to take calculated ones. For someone who has started several business over the years, (about 5 to date), I still struggle with the idea of something not working out. The fear of failure is real when you put a lot on the line for your dream. But I also know that in order for an idea to flourish and become a reality, I have to step out of my comfort zone and make it happen.
Before I start a new venture, I always have an inner conversation that goes like this: “How much money and time am I willing to invest in this idea? If it fails, what’s my worst case scenario? Can I live with that?” No one starts a business, a partnership, a church or ministry with the idea that it will fail. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, optimists but even the most positive person should account for the unknowns he or she cannot control. Sometimes your failed business has nothing to do with you or your performance. Recently a good friend found out his business partner had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from their business, putting it in financial jeopardy. We shouldn’t plan for our best friend to steal from us, but we all should have an exit strategy in case he does.
I will not sacrifice my friends on the altar of money. No all of my ventures have performed the way I envisioned them. Some of them were partnerships with good friends. No, not the kind who would steal money from me, but real friends. Years ago I settled the money question by watching how a friend did it poorly. I will not lose a life-long friendship over money. If I’m not willing to lose the money over the relationship, I do not go forward with it. I’m thankful I’ve settled that question. Life is too short. Relationships matter more than money. Trust me on this one.
There’s more I want to talk about this, but I’ll leave it for another post.