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The Good News - You're Really Successful! The Bad News - You're Really Successful!

Prepare for small business successMost of my blog posts are focused on keeping you out of trouble. This one is focused on that "oh, s**t" moment of extraordinary success that, hopefully, some of you will someday have. Success is often a two-edged sword. With it comes the fruits of your labors. But also, with it comes the necessity to deliver on that success. Every entrepreneur dreams of success. But few truly plan for it.

A recent story about the famed "Maker's Mark" bourbon, a privately-owned family business, set me to thinking about how few small business owners anticipate or have a plan for "success beyond their wildest dreams."

It seems that "Maker's Mark" has become one of the most sought-after bourbons at bars, restaurants and hotels, to say nothing of straight out retailer sales. This has caused such success for the company that it has taxed their manufacturing capacity and they have been unable to meet market demand. Their potential solutions? Shorten the aging process and dilute the product with more water, cutting the alcoholic content.Which, of course, will affect the taste. They have become a victim of their own success.

Many entrepreneurs would view this as a problem they would love to have. Well, what if you succeeded "beyond your wildest dreams?" Could you deliver and support your product or service with quality and at a price you could sustain, profitably? Sure, you've got a business plan and it shows the proverbial "hockey stick" of growth. But have you really thought about the implications of such growth? And does your plan really consider the various alternatives and issues that you would face to sustain and deliver on that growth?

Let's look at an example. How about addressing that marketing plan you're about to execute? Most folks put a plan together that reflects "what they need" as opposed to what's feasible (either plus or minus). Suppose your plan shows that you expect 20% of the prospects you contact to be interested enough to take the next step, which might be a demonstration or a 30-day free trial. Then, let's suppose your plan shows that you expect to be able to convert 25% of those prospects to customers; roughly 5% of the total number of prospects contacted.

But what if, those numbers doubled; or tripled, for whatever reason? Some starlet, suddenly endorses your product on David Letterman. A video with your product in it, suddenly goes viral. Or maybe it's just a combination of right place, right time. You get the picture. Could you handle delivering on that success? Could you do all of those demonstrations? Could you handle all of the ensuing sales situations? Could you ship and support that much product in a short time? Have you even considered such success and how you would handle it?

The long and the short of it is that entrepreneurs, even the most optimistic, most often, consider the downside of plans, but rarely consider the impact and operational implications of real success. Success is a two-edged sword and you need to have a plan for both sides!

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

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