Peter told me about the latest and greatest idea that he had to improve his business. He was so excited because this new revenue stream was going to ensure that his organization had money coming in that would stabilize the income streams to enable the business to thrive once again. Truth be told, this particular business seemed to have had its glory days 40 years ago. However this new leader was adamant that his creative idea was going to revive that glory. What Peter failed to realize was that his unique idea had been floated 25 years ago and there had been no action. Could it be that the time was now right?
Timing is important when it comes to business and investing. I know from my own experience that I have bought the right stocks but at the wrong time. I have invested in ventures that were too early for their time.
In the year 2001 for example, my brother Rob and I and several others put time, money and energy into a product we called Butterfly Mail. This was an email service software that could send pre scheduled emails out to an audience and could be crafted in advance and sent to populated email addresses. Unfortunately, we gave up after 18 months as we couldn’t gain traction.
In 2001 a tech startup called Mailchimp created something similar to Butterfly Mail to send greeting cards. This company morphed into an email marketing service which is now valued at $12 Billion dollars. Oh well if we stuck with it we might have been rich, however I probably couldn’t spend 20% of a 12 Billion dollars anyways.
In another investment in property, I ended up holding something akin to swampland, with some partners for 20 years in the hopes that a community would grow, when in fact it shrunk.
For most people the saying "we could have, should have, would have, but didn’t" is more in line with their style of action. Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena quote states it well.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
You are going to look at many of your projects and recognize that perhaps your timing was off. That you could have been rich, or famous, but you aren’t. That as an investor, entrepreneur or even a lover or a parent you weren’t as successful as you wanted to be. But so often we focus on our failures, our errors, our mistimings and consider ourselves to be unworthy. We let our past events hold us back and create doubts about our future endeavours. In many cases we alone are our worst critics.
So what if your timing is off. Peter might just be successful in his venture even though it may have been a roaring success already if it was initiated by his predecessors 25 years ago. While timing is important, it's action that is more important. From action comes the fundamentals of success, the relief for anxiety and the dream of a brighter future.
Dave FullerMBA is an award winning Business Coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Take action and email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org