Do Entrepreneurs Need a Plan B?


Years ago when I worked for someone else, I found myself updating my resume on a regular basis. I would come up with plans B, C, D – sometimes all the way to Z. But I always had at least a Plan B.

Now, when I speak with women in Corporate America who are struggling because they’re not in the right place, I often ask them what their back up plan is, because I do believe you need a back up plan.

But for entrepreneurs, it’s a different story.

I like to joke that if you’re a business owner and you’re not thinking about quitting at least once a week (sometimes once a day), then you’re doing something wrong.

But I don’t really mean that you should quit. In fact, perseverance is the only true secret to entrepreneurial success.

I was working with a business owner the other day who was mapping out the steps it would take to build and launch a new service offering, one that was perfectly aligned to her current business and her experience. On paper, it sounded like a home run.

But something was off. I could hear it in her voice. And when I asked her point blank if there was anything she wasn’t telling me, she said, “It’s just that I’m not sure I want to do this. I kind of think I may want to start another business entirely.”

It took me about two minutes to wrap up that meeting.

And here’s why.

There is one instance when you cannot have a back up plan, and that’s when you have a new or growing business. There is no room for a Plan B (or C or D). If you have a back up plan, you will fail. And until she was 100% committed to wanting to launch the new service, I wasn’t going to work with her. It just wasn’t going to work. She would fail. The new business would fail. And it was going to cost her a lot of money along the way.

It’s not that I didn’t understand what she was saying or empathize with how she was feeling.

But because perseverance is critical to success, it’s just not worth starting a new project or business unless you really, really want to build something.

But before you write me off as a heartless business advisor, we did find a way to reposition her thinking about the new service line as a means to achieving the end. The new service line, if launched and run correctly, can fund her future vision.

So if you’re ever looking for a way out or formulating a Plan B when growing a business, stop. Unless you want to fail.

* Join our free community membership specifically designed for women business owners. You’ll connect with a community of dynamic women, across hundreds of industries – from food to fashion, fitness, technology, consumer goods, creative services – and more. https://hercorner.org/join

Frederique is the founder and CEO of Her Corner, a global peer-group community of women business owners committed to growth in their businesses.

Her Corner applies a systematic, process-based approach that includes business-driven agendas, carefully selected facilitators, and metrics-focused growth measures in order to give women the springboard they need to move forward.

Frederique holds an MBA from the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary and a BA in International and Russian Studies from Davidson College. She is a dual citizen of the United States and European Union, is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and conversant in Russian and Italian.

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