Howdy campers. Can you believe it? With this part 4 I’m finally done pontificating about the “Curse of Wishful Thinking”. So far we’ve avoided this problem by using solid decisions to 1) avoid paper-thin (or non-existent) profits and 2) firing unprofitable clients plus 3) not depending on hopelessly optimistic “Gonna” sales.
But my final “wishful thinking” trap may be the most dangerous because of the long term damage it can do to your business and your life. You see, if you under bid a job (1) or stay too long with a loser client (2) or even fall prey to “running your business on a high degree of hope” (3) these are sad but repairable events.
However, if you enter into an unwise business partnership this may doom all of your efforts. Note that here I’m talking about the traditional definition of a partner: someone who has an ownership interest in our company.
Too often business partners are chosen for irrational, emotional reasons that we bitterly regret down the road. They were childhood friends, they had a stack of cash to invest in our cash-strapped company, they’re our spouse or they’re a member of our gene pool. If this is the case in your business and it’s working for you, congratulations and keep up the good work. When these situations work (and they occasionally do) they can be enormously rewarding.
But often we discover too late that the main thing that qualified us as partners was fond memories from the past and we find ourselves faced with a situation that isn’t going to go away simply because we wish it would or because we choose to ignore it.
When this is the case we have three choices. We can resolve the issue and move forward together. (This is usually the best choice). We can bury our feelings and learn to deal with it. (Never a good choice.) Or, we can part ways. With this third choice you can be fairly certain of two things: The resolution will be emotionally painful and it will cost money. But you’ll probably be better off in the long run. Remember this…
When you make business decisions based on hard evidence and solid data rather than on wishful thinking you are going to make good decisions. And although these decisions won’t always be easy to make you will usually come out the other side of the decision with a stronger company than you went in with.