Managing Expectations- Small Business 101
There’s an old saying “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. This is especially true in business where sales are often promised or verbally committed to frequently, then often end up not happening. It’s difficult to not factor in those potential sales right away, especially when they are big ones. The excitement comes immediately, thinking about what those funds will be used for. You can now pay down some business debt for inventory, rent on your space, maybe save a little.
But be careful. Until those checks are delivered and cashed, or that card is swiped, it is not a sale and cannot be counted on as money you have for your business. In the art world and more specifically with my business where the artist is the gallery owner, this managing of expectations is difficult and common… and important. I’d say at least 1-2 times a week I get customers who either written in an email or a message on facebook, or in person at the gallery say they want an original painting or a commissioned piece. Or multiple. When you start to think about the amount this will eventually be available to your business, it can be misleading if you are not realistic that it might not happen.
Many businesses have investors. Banks that have a line of credit for inventory, venture capitalists, etc. If you are on your own and everything is based on sales, every sales promise or “commitment” matters and you can’t receive it soon enough. You start to think “man, I have around $10,000 – $20,000 out there in sales if they would all just come through right now when I need it”. But the reality is you don’t until the money is in your account. You cannot mentally spend it yet.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.