In a recent speech at Think Tank session with SVKM’s NMIMS students, N. R. Narayana Murthy advised students that entrepreneurs should avoid keeping a Plan B instead of giving their all to their venture. He said, “Entrepreneurs have a tremendous passion for their idea. They believe in their idea and are willing to work more than 20 hours a day. However, we must remember that luck also plays a very important role in the success of an idea. If luck is not coming your way, you have to analyze dispassionately and close your venture. But when you are running your enterprise, you cannot have a plan B and you cannot be half-hearted about your idea. You have to give your best as if there is no alternative at all. So, till you get a very clear message from the market that your idea is not going to set saild, please do not think of Plan B”.
It is true that things don’t always go the way we expect it to, and hence we always tend to have Plan B. But do you know that studies show that just thinking about your backup plan reduces your chance for success. In fact a backup plan can indeed have harmful effects on your goal pursuit even though it acts as an emotional cushion when your Plan A fails. As Narayana Murthy said that the most common mistake that young entrepreneurs make not defining how their product or idea added value for the customer in a way better than their competitors. He pointed out that entrepreneurs must distinguish between the value of their product and its price. Indeed his speech was backed by his experience where he was forced to shut his first entrepreneurial venture Softronics.
Starting up is not easy and an entrepreneur’s life is a constant uphill of new challenges and responsibilities. Burning midnight oils is a normal and hence it is not wrong if they have a Plan B as some entrepreneurs just put everything that they have into their dream project. Many experts believe that these Plan Bs are the pivots and hence essential for the success of any startups as these pivots generally conceptualize the growth path of your startups. But experts believe that Plan B should be in terms of strategy and execution approach, and not for another startup or a job. Indeed it is difficult to tell at what point a startup should turn towards implementing Plan B as it will work only when implemented at the right time and with the right approach. Having Plan B empowers an entrepreneur to approach the business world with confidence, and be flexible in trying various approaches until they achieve it.
So as important as it is to not have a Plan B to ensure you give all to it, equally it is to know where you have to pivot and ensure your Plan A is well supported by Plan B as a pivot and not a new business plan altogether.