You fall in love with your plan, and love is blind. You don’t see the fatal flaw.
I know a man who jumped headfirst into a new venture based on building a chain of used CD stores. The punch line? It was 2000. Napster was already there. Do you see the fatal flaw? He didn’t. And this was a man who’d had a string of successes.
Love is blind.
So here’s a trick that might, sometimes, if you’re lucky, help you see the fatal flaw.
- It takes imagination. So close your eyes, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
- Jump in your imagination to the future. Go to three years from now.
- Now pretend that, there in the future, you know that the business you are starting now, your baby, your dream, is over. It failed. I know, that’s hard, but it’s a game; it’s only in your imagination, so make that leap.
- You’re sitting at a table, maybe in a coffee shop, maybe at lunch, and somebody asks you: “What happened? Why did it fail?”
- Now, using your imagination, your intelligence and what you know about your business, answer that question. This is fiction now, so you have to tell a story. Make it believable. What happened?
This helps you think about flaws. Was it competition? Did the management lose interest? Was there not enough money? Did some new technology come in?
I don’t know for sure, but I believe that if my friend with the used CD stores had done this exercise, he would have come up with the possibility of a change in the way we deal with music, meaning Napster, downloading, iTunes and so on.
And, for the record, I haven’t done the research, either, but what do you think? Would you like to own a used CD store? What do you think has happened to the sale of used CDs?