Guident Newsletter – April 2018 – Issue 24

So you want to start a business, throw out the Jokers!

When I was a child, my sisters and I would like to play a card game called Rummy 500.  Those of you who know this game understand the goal is to reach 500 points before anyone else.  In Rummy all cards are counted as their face value except the Jokers.  They were considered “wild cards,” and we could make them equal to any card in the deck.

When I was in college, my buddies and I would like to play Poker.  When I played with them, we were serious and played for money.  Because we were playing for money, we didn’t have “wild cards,” and we didn’t use the Jokers.

I often advise people who are considering starting a new business to throw out the Jokers, eliminating them from the deck.  When starting a new business, the Jokers were not “wild cards” but “failure cards.”  The thought of failure is not an option when starting a new business.  You cannot even have the “Failure Card” in the deck because when the going gets tough, and it will, you don’t want to be tempted to throw that “Failure Card” onto the table.

So often when I see businesses that have failed in the first year or two, I see a business owner who held that “Failure Card” in their hand and eventually used it when cash flow was tight, or worse; non-existent.   Don’t let this happen to you.  Take the “Failure Card” out of your deck before you start your new business and do not consider failure as an option.  What this does is forces the business owner to find innovative ways to make the business work.  A resource I would suggest if you are considering starting a new business is The Lean Startup by author Eric Ries.  ISBN #0307887898.  When money is involved, there should be “No Jokers” in the deck, failure is not an option!