As we conduct the due diligence on what’s next for our business, we seek the information that will help us acquire knowledge and create conditions that minimize the risks and maximize the opportunity. After all, we want to be as certain as possible that our next step is the right one, don’t we?
That’s an interesting word, certain. Webster says it means fixed, settled, determined, not to be doubted. But it’s a word that isn’t often found in business plans.
The 19th century president of Harvard University, Charles W. Eliot, said, “All business proceeds on beliefs, or judgment of probabilities, and not on certainties.”
What do you think the marketplace — indeed, the world — would look like if business had been built more on certainties than beliefs? I think we would probably be closer to wearing a stone ax on our belt than a smartphone.
It’s important to understand that on the entrepreneurial scale, each of us resides somewhere between the foolhardy and seekers of certainty. The challenge for entrepreneurs is to know when to seek certainty and when to move forward with our beliefs.
No position on this scale is better than another — the world needs all kinds of entrepreneurs. But understanding where we reside on the entrepreneurial scale helps us make better business plans.