Staying the Course: Stick to Your Knitting

When you launch a new business you’re fueled by passion and belief in your concept. Your excitement in the new venture continues as you complete the start-up activities and develop your product or service. Your resolve is strong as you sort through and select options for marketing your product. You’re building momentum during your first round of sales to your family and friends.

Then things get quiet. New sales are s-l-o-w. You examine everything you’re doing and vow to do more. You increase your hours in a flurry of activity. One more blog entry a week, one more article submission, one more EMAIL campaign, ten more Linkedin connections, but sales aren’t growing.

Fear starts to set in as your imagination starts to work overtime. It’s at this stage so many entrepreneurs start down the path to failure. Panic sets in and they find themselves:

    1. Throwing money at it
    2. Spending more hours doing it
    3. Spending most of the day churning
    4. Building another product or adding another service
    5. Starting another business
    6. Giving up

Taking any of those actions while you’re in that state of mind isn’t a good idea. Before you do anything or give in to panic take a deep breath and write out the worst case scenario.

Most often the fear is related to money. If that’s the case, address it right now.  If you were depending on sales from this business to support you at this stage, perhaps you need to get a part-time job or reduce your living expenses.

If you need more money than what you put in your business plan, but crowdsourcing isn’t an option, and you’re considering taking on debt, taking it out of your savings or 401K – please talk to a trusted advisor first.  If you’ve set up an advisory board of people who want you to succeed and who will tell you what they think and not what you want to hear, go talk to one of them. If you haven’t, it’s a great time to start one. The US Small Business Administration,, operates SCORE, a volunteer force of retired business owners and former executives who are willing to help.

Figure out your ONE next step. What do you need to do today to address your worse case scenario and keep your business open?  Focus on doing just that.

We all have moments of doubt and I dare say that most entrepreneurs have experienced moments of crippling fear. Just get past the moment. You might not realize it but you’ve done the hard part, now just “stick to your knitting” and when you drop a stitch, pick it up and keep going.

You CAN do this.