What if we fail?

Have we considered the possibility of this venture never succeeding? Ever? And would that be negative thinking, was a question asked by a client recently?

It wasn’t negative thinking; it was a contingent thought.

They had dismissed the possibility of their project being severely hindered or failing.

It was full steam ahead, and if someone in the team had raised the possibility of failure during any of the meetings, they would be seen as the doomsayer or always finding the negative probabilities.

Failure is not something that naturally springs to my mind when considering a venture or approaching a situation.

Historically, I believed that thinking of ‘what ifs’ was giving rise to failure, being pessimistic or expecting to lose long before I’ve even started.

But it isn’t. It is scenario planning 101, one of the methods uses by military intelligence in developing strategy.

In business, considering contingencies is a responsible approach.

A reader of my newsletters recently commented – “Morton, this newsletter is timely as I’m thinking through the ‘what ifs’ of several partnerships and this will help me structure the agreements.

Too often, small businesses go into new agreements without thoroughly discussing what could go wrong and looking at the what if’s.

Before moving ahead, the fear of seeming fussy or lacking the courage to have these conversations gets in the way.

It is prudent to ask questions like:
What about the financial implications of this project going beyond the timeline?

Are there political decisions by the local authority or government consultations that could scupper the plans completely?

These are all things you can and should find out about as you are in control.

Sometimes it’s challenging to think about the ‘what if’s, but I have learned that successful planning is deeply rooted in considering the option – should this not go to plan, what will we do instead?
To develop your ‘what if’ muscles:
a) Consider what would happen if your new product launch does not work and you do not generate the revenue you expect – what then?
b) What if your client does not pay on time which affects cash flow – what will you do instead?
c) What if the country you plan to visit moves from amber to red in the current climate – will you still travel or do a staycation?

If you find yourself reluctant to think about “what if’s” the answer is simple: you’re afraid to face reality, just like many of us.

Look at what it costs you if you don’t do this. Peace of mind is one of the assured benefits.

Contingency plans are part of self-care and knowing your value, which applies to your business and life