By Goke Ilesanmi
Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, an associate director for the Motivation Science Centre at the Columbia University Business School says to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to recognise an opportunity when you see one. In the same vein, you need to have plans if you really want to succeed. Having alternative plans is very critical to success in all areas of life. Therefore, to achieve success in time, individuals and organisations need to have Plan B in addition to Plan A. Basically, Plan A is the first plan you want to use to achieve your goal, while Plan B is the second or alternative plan you want to switch over to if Plan A fails or does not help you achieve the desired results. For instance, if your Plan A is paid employment, your Plan B may be self-employment or entrepreneurship.
Implementing your Plan B of self-employment
Even though some employees are foresighted enough to have Plans A and B, it is always very difficult for such few foresighted employees to implement their Plan B of self-employment or entrepreneurship. This is largely due to fear of what may happen to them in the event of quitting their paid employment. Some employees even overstay on their paid employment all in the name of gathering endless business management experience.
It is a known fact that there are three basic ways to leave a paid job. These are professionally referred to as three R’s. That is, it is either you Resign, Retire or you are Retrenched. Apart from these three, there is another form of disengagement that is between voluntary resignation and retrenchment. This is called “forced resignation”. This happens when somebody is told to resign to avoid being disgraced with retrenchment. To be able to successfully implement your Plan B, you do not need to wait for “forced resignation” or retrenchment. You also do not need to wait for the retirement time when all the energy you need to run your own business must have been exhausted. So you need to “retire” young.
It is also noteworthy that you do not need to wait till you have voluntarily resigned to start implementing your self-employment or entrepreneurship Plan B. It is safer to start gradually when you are still in your paid employment to avoid unnecessary financial pressure. If you want to use your hobby (e.g., comedy, acting or singing) for self-employment, start when you are still in paid employment and establish yourself before quitting paid employment finally. If you are already married, carry your spouse along in your plan. If you are a married man, ensure that you have also adequately equipped your wife by setting up a (small) business for her before quitting.
Effectiveness of Plan A
Even though it is always stressed that flexibility is critical to successful execution of one’s plan, and Plan B is therefore repeatedly echoed as a powerful alternative means of achieving tremendous success, Plan A is very paradoxically critical to success. As opposed to the general notion that you need to double your planning by having Plans A and B, and even rely on Plan B for enduring success, there are times that you need to rely on Plan A alone to be able to succeed.
Let me clarify the paradox. An employee with a vision normally has Plans A and B. His or her Plan A may be paid employment while Plan B may be self-employment or entrepreneurship. The moment he or she starts his or her business or self-employment later, the initial Plan B, that is, self-employment or entrepreneurship now becomes his or her adapted Plan A while the former Plan A, that is, paid employment now becomes his or her adapted Plan B.
In the same vein, if somebody is very passionate about self-employment or entrepreneurship right from school, and immediately he or she graduates, he or she starts his or her own business, it means his or her Plan A is self-employment or entrepreneurship, while Plan B is paid employment. If your initial or original Plan A is self-employment or entrepreneurship right from school, you can have a mentor who can put you through so that you make up for business management experience that you should otherwise have gained from paid employment.
To be able to achieve success in a situation whereby you resign to start your own business or when you start your business immediately after graduation from school, you need to stick to your Plan A and discard Plan B, which is paid employment. If not, your Plan A, that is, self-employment or entrepreneurship may never work because of the confidence that you have the alternative plan of paid employment to switch over to.
In the words of Ken Gaub, a great motivational speaker, “Early in our planning process,… flexibility is fine, but as we get closer to our goals, it becomes necessary to commit. The time comes when we must get rid of Plan B, or Plan A never will work.“
Jeff Haden, a ghost writer who has ghostwritten books for some of the smartest leaders, says successful people are able to succeed because “they don’t have back-up plans”. Haden expatiates that back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night and create an easy way out when times get tough. He adds that you will work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment -without a safety net – will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible, stresses Haden.
In the same notional vein, William Matthews, a motivational speaker says the first law of success is concentration, bending all the energies to one point, and going directly to that point without looking to the right or left.
John Mason, a renowned motivational speaker reinforces this assertion by saying the most successful people have always been those of concentration who have struck their blows in one place until they have accomplished their goals. “They are of one specific idea, one steady aim, a single and concentrated purpose,” Mason expatiates.
It is should stressed at this juncture that sticking to your Plan A does not mean diversification is not allowed. Diversification simply refers to the act of increasing your range of goods or services. It also refers to changing something to get variety or putting money in difference types of investment. Diversification is important because the real path to abundant wealth and financial freedom is through self-employment.
In self-employment, you can create enduring wealth through diversification which leads to multiple streams of income. For instance, if you have a school, nothing stops you from diversifying into related business areas like book-selling and printing of different items for your school and other people, schools, organisations, etc.
Even though Plans A and B are necessary to achieve success in life, when it gets to a stage where your Plan A becomes self-employment or entrepreneurship, you need to remain focused and determined on your road to success. Till we meet on Wednesday.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425