Tag Archive for 'Impulsiveness'

Video: I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking?

In this week's video I share my insight into impulsiveness with small business owners.

I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking? from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

“What was I thinking?”

I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking?

This is the title lyric of a country song by Dierks Bentley. It’s about a boy who lets a pretty face get him into a whole lot of trouble on their first date.

In matters of courtship, who hasn’t done things–which we may have regretted the next day–that were impulsive and just plain boneheaded?

Of course, there’s no accounting for this behavior when it comes to affairs of the heart. But when a small business owner says, “I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking?” it probably results in the proverbial winged sack of money flying away.

Being passionate about starting a business is very important, but the business failure rate would drop like a stone if more prospective entrepreneurs understood that success in business requires more than desire: It takes knowledge of the industry and knowledge of business fundamentals–especially cash flow–and total commitment in case the passion fades.

“I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking?” is the post-passion lament of the passionate, but too impulsive, start-up business owner.

For more mature small business owners, that question may be less dangerous only to the degree that being established assumes some level of market penetration and critical mass.

This is not complicated: Fixing business mistakes costs money and, unlike a start-up, if you have customers, you’re more likely, but by no means guaranteed, to be able to operate through the impact of a bad decision.

A mentor once told me, “Sales will cure most business ills.” But why would seasoned business owners commit this rookie mistake? Often their post-passion lament is caused by ego or desperation.

The road to business failure is paved with the assets of seasoned owners who didn’t understand that in any new venture they should think of themselves as a start-up again, only this time with more to lose and possibly a runaway ego. Mixing ego and capital, especially borrowed capital, is a dangerous cocktail that has taken down many a business.

Another mentor once told me, “Desperate people do desperate things.” Sometimes owners don’t see market and industry shifts before it’s too late. Sadly, in their desire to save their businesses, instead of believing their own eyes, they desperately seek I-know-what-I-was-feeling solutions that conform to what they want to see.

But reality didn’t get its name by being wrong, and “What was I thinking?” is the lament of the desperate. Denial is a powerful and seductive drug, and it’s the handmaiden of desperation.

In love, impulsiveness can be cute; in business, it’s the straightest line to failure.

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