From an early age, our parents taught us we need other options available in case our wishes don’t work out the way we wanted. When we go to an amusement park, we pick a list of rides to visit because we might not always get our first choice. At Christmas we are told to pick a list of presents because our first option is not always available. We are supposed to have backup options because we may not get our initial choice in life.
However, when it comes to running your own business, having a backup plan in your hip pocket can be to your disadvantage. It can remove your drive to succeed. If you always know in the back of your mind that you really don’t have to work very hard to accomplish a business goal, you are less likely to attack your venture with fervor. This is especially true when you are leaving a corporate job and you always have the option of crawling back in shame because you didn’t make it.
Not convinced? Here are five reasons why you should leave behind your Plan B:
1. Your soul will not be happy with a secondary option: The main reason you left working for someone else is that there was an element of dissatisfaction. You didn’t want to keep doing the same thing for the same person in 20 years. Your soul yearned to leave your cage and build your ideal life the way you wanted. There was a vision and a mission. You need to always remember that vision, and never accept anything less. Keep some kind of reminder in front of you every day as to why you were unhappy and why you left. And never forget the joy that comes from being the commander of your own destiny.
2. You need the energy for your Plan A: Being an entrepreneur is exhausting work. I don’t think any business owner who built anything great understood the concept of a Monday through Friday week or an 8 to 5 day. You need every ounce of mental and physical strength focused on a single purpose—marketing and growing your business. If you are taking any time away from your primary purpose to keep Plan B alive, both sides will suffer.
3. You need the money for Plan A: I’ve heard of entrepreneurs who will keep a certain amount of money aside as their backup plan. The challenge is that if you are close to amazing success, that last bit of Plan B funding could be the magic that pushes you over the top. If you are afraid to dip into your savings to keep your dream alive, then you may not be that committed to your dream. Look at some of the people who you admire in business. A lot have gone into major debt and even sacrificed their retirement money to be sure that their dream took flight.
4. Use the fear to drive you: I’ve talked to many entrepreneurs over the years who have told me that there is always an element of fear to running their own business. It is not a “cower-in-a-corner-shaking-uncontrollably” fear. It is the type of fear that tells you that you must be committed to complete what you set out to do. If you don’t succeed you may not be able to put food on the table or a roof over your head. It may be a cliché, but there is definite truth in the phrase, “Failure is not an option.” If you know that success at one thing is your only choice, you will find a way to make it a reality. Plan B is not an option in your world.
5. The pursuit of a single dream will help you build a stronger long-term business: There is a certain set of skills you will acquire when you are in startup mode. The options that a big-time CEO has available are not available to you. Your time management will have to be impeccable. You will need to learn to manage every dime and nickel to survive. And you will have to learn how to become amazingly resourceful when you don’t have all of the necessary resources laid out neatly in front of you. Entrepreneurs who can master these basic skills in the pursuit of their one single passion will have more success as the venture grows. The harder the climb, the bigger the success.
If you’ve got a Plan B parachute ready and waiting for you as an entrepreneur then you may want to cut the cords. You’ll fall faster and have more fun. And if you land on your feet you’ll be more equipped to handle anything that your business throws at you in the future.