The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Men
The rest of that phrase is “often go awry”. Or, in the original by Scottish poet Robert Burns, “gang aft-a-gley”. And, in the United States, you’ll often hear the ending as “go oft astray”.
No matter – the point is that no matter how well you plan, no matter how well you’re executing the plan, something invariably goes wrong. Something is going to cost you more money or more time, or both. Usually both.
We emphasize this with our clients all the time. When they’re doing a business case and inputting start-up costs, we tell them to get their number and then add 50%. Timeline for building out their new retail store? Add 50% more days. Because something unexpected (and bad) is going to happen; it always, always does.
So, if you’re going through this right now with your business, don’t despair. It happens to everyone. Best-case scenario is not something to rely on in terms of business projections. You hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
And besides, it’s worth pointing out that not all detours and hiccups are negatives in the long run. There are a great many stories in business history where someone had to do something unexpected out of necessity and it turned their business into a much better business than the one they had originally sketched out. Or, the tenacity the business had to display because of unexpected hardship served the business owner very well later, when everyone else was saying, “You’ll never be able to do it”, and the business owner said, “I’m pretty sure I can do it, and I’m going to give it a shot”.
So, be brave. But plan for the roadblocks.