Negativity is a Pitfall! Don’t Fall In!
Negativity can be extremely damaging to a growing business. Many people miss out on what could’ve been incredible opportunities by having the wrong outlook. I once mentored three young female entrepreneurs at Boston University. One of the women, Nancy, was a makeup stylist and knew the market well. Nancy and two of her classmates had started an online cosmetic business during their junior year of college. The online cosmetic business was her idea and she developed a good rapport with suppliers while she worked for a well-known cosmetic company through high school. Therefore, Nancy headed up product development and sales for her business. One of the partners managed the financial accounting, while the other handled marketing. Nancy’s family was supportive of her business and let the company use their garage for inventory and shipping. In fact, they helped fill the orders to be shipped.
Negativity set in with Nancy
Shortly before graduation, Nancy’s two partners decided to pursue full-time jobs that were in line with their college majors. Nancy was taken completely by surprise and was devastated. Her business was all she wanted to do after graduation. Negativity grabbed ahold and Nancy’s attitude went from upbeat and positive to angry and resentful. Nancy sunk into depression, got rid of the remaining inventory in her parent’s garage, and shut down the company website.
Not only was Nancy angry with her partners, she was furious with her career counselors at Boston University. She let negativity get the best of her. She reasoned that back when her goal had been to run her business after graduation, her counselors had been too supportive. had not properly prepared her for a job search. In the end, Nancy accepted an entry-level job she hated. After a few months, she accepted a position with a cosmetic manufacturer based in Florida. It sounds like a good ending.
Obstacle or Opportunity?
Consider what might have happened if Nancy had changed her perspective. She could have decided the exit of her partners was as an opportunity. After all, Nancy was the one with the knowledge, contacts, relationships and formulas.
Most likely, Nancy’s family would have stepped in to help her while she decided how to do it on her own. Nancy had professors at Boston University’s School of Management who would have helped her consider different options. She could have taken a part-time job that would give her the flexibility to work on the business. After a few months, there would’ve been a good likelihood that Nancy could work full-time on her business. But we’ll never know for sure.
What is important here is that Nancy’s negativity would influence her decisions, which would then determine her future career steps. Nancy will never know the opportunities she passed up by letting an unplanned negative situation turn her winning attitude sour. What would you have done? If this sort of thing has happened to you, what did you do?
On an added note: Nancy’s business management professor told me she saw the changes coming. It was not unusual for college entrepreneurs to change direction once graduation was upon them. The advantage for young entrepreneurs like Nancy is they can pick themselves up and start all over. It is easier to start over because they do not have obligations that older entrepreneurs have, like mortgage payments, home insurance and certain types of taxes like property and school.
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