The Millstone Times July 2020
Control “mission creep” This is military term used to describe a gradual broadening of the initial objective. For example, a brief security deployment that turns into a long-term com- mitment and requires more than double the manpow- er and resources originally thought. In the restaurant world, this can take the form of a brunch café sud- denly offering dinner or otherwise bloating its menu and costs, and exponentially increasing the amount of inventory it’s required to keep. Outside of the restau- rant world, no business is immune to the pressures of increasing product offerings that fall outside the scope of their expertise. Have the discipline not to impulsive- ly react to this pressure, and only expand the original mission if you have the requisite data—R&D, customer feedback, market studies, and so forth—to back up the decision. When in doubt, remember that businesses that can do one thing exceptionally well often find a permanent place in the hearts of their customers. Expect the unexpected
Adversity awaits every entrepreneur, but it comes in so many varieties that it’s impossible to know exactly what form it will take. Unfortunately, the spe- cific kind you’ll face likely won’t reveal itself until you’re knee-deep in the launch process with tens of thousands of dollars already committed to R&D, breaking ground, or marketing. You may find out that you need to spend a lot more than anticipated to bring your building up to code, change a product’s ingredients or manufacturing process in order to be accepted into a particular retail chain, or lose critical funding at the last minute. As I said, you can’t prepare for the specifics. But maintaining the mindset that something is bound to go sideways allows you to avoid despair and instead greet setbacks with a smile and say, “Ah! There you are. I’ve been expecting you.” Then you can roll up your sleeves and get to work on solving the problem. So much of success comes back to belief. If you have a great idea, are willing to work at it, and believe you’re destined to make it no matter what you encounter, then there’s nothing the world can throw at you to hold you back. In parting, I would wish you good luck, but instead I’ll just remind you that you make your own. And always remember the motto I live by: Nothing is impossible. For information about SBA’s resources for veterans, visit www.sba.gov/veterans.
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