All is Well… Or Not: Why You Should Tame Overoptimism in Business

In instances when an aspiring entrepreneur isn’t overly anxious, they’re usually at the opposite extreme: excessively optimistic. Rather than thinking about what could go wrong or how they would fail, they have an inflated feeling of making it big in the industry they chose. A positive outlook on how your business will go matters, of course. It can be your driving force, the only force you can hold on to, during the toughest of times. But too much of it can also kill your business, even in its early phases. Here’s how overoptimism harms the business and why you should stop it in its tracks:

You tend to underestimate risks

Or, you may overlook them completely. Soon, you may find yourself in the middle of a crisis that could have been easily prevented if only you exercised foresight. Blindness to what could go wrong usually happens when you’re too focused on what’s happening right. When you’re able to secure the backing of investors, draft the ‘perfect’ business plan, see how profitable your industry is, it’s easy to underestimate the risks along the way. But don’t be too complacent. Anticipate possibilities of failure. Play different scenarios or outcomes in your plan so that you can protect your business well from risks. It would be helpful to have a mentor who can point out your blind spots, and help you identify specific risks that could threaten your business. Make it a priority to find a coach even in your early days as an entrepreneur.

You become resistant to growth

Since overly optimistic people tend to get fixated more on the ‘brighter side of things’, there’s a tendency to disregard problems. And that becomes a problem because remember, you’re entering into an industry that thrives on problems. Every business idea is a solution to people’s pain points. Restaurant businesses for hungry stomachs. Gym franchises for the growing health-conscious millennial population. Online retail stores for lazy shoppers. Not paying attention to gaps can then keep you from seeing which ventures elsewhere are worth pursuing, as well as how you can improve further your current business. So, beyond looking at the bright side of things, consider the other side too, looking at the market’s pressing problems and needs.

You can’t do everything on your own

business people shaking hands

Optimism fires up an entrepreneur. Over-optimism adds passion all the more. In most instances, overly optimistic entrepreneurs do the bulk of the work, as an outlet of their enthusiasm, as well as in the hopes that they could make their vision a reality as soon as possible. But here’s the sobering truth: you can’t do everything all by yourself. If you try to, you’re going to get lost in the details, ending up with a few little things accomplished, but no big impact on your overall business growth. Keep in mind the number one leadership principle: delegate. Find the best talents in your industry and train them in a way that they could duplicate what you do and how you work. When your optimism has already filled to the brim, don’t keep the enthusiasm to yourself; rather, pour it over to your team.

Don’t Be Overoptimistic

Too much of a good thing can be bad, especially in business. Strive for a healthy dose of optimism when starting your venture. Dream big, but keep your feet on the ground.

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