Roberto CoelhoBy Roberto Coelho|July 5, 2022|5 Minutes|In Opinion


Hail Caesar! How Plan B can save your entrepreneur empire.

November 9th, 1989, started as an ordinary day for millions across the globe. However, before sunset, the Berlin Wall would be forced to the ground by millions of East and West German citizens. The 9th of November is remembered and celebrated as the date which symbolically signifies the end of the Cold War.

Fast forward 33 years, globalization, the growth of the internet, the birth and death of the iPod, to February 20th, 2022, the date Russia invaded Ukraine.

Future historians may reflect on November 9th, 1989, not as the end of the Cold War but a pausing of it.

The impact of the war is being felt across the globe, but most notably in Europe, as energy costs skyrocket.

However, one may ask what is the relevance of this war to an entrepreneur in Africa?

Ignoring the social impact, the war teaches an important lesson; a plan B is not prudent, it is vital.

Europe, and specifically Germany, illustrates the risk of “keeping all your eggs in one basket” as the government implements plans to ensure there is sufficient natural gas for the winter.

Similarly, entrepreneurs globally have a tendency to go all in one plan A without considering plan B.

From an entrepreneurs perspective, it is  understandable why everything from the family house to mothers diamonds will be used on that ‘million-dollar idea’. Self-belief is the blood which runs through an entrepreneur’s veins.

Unfortunately, this self-belief may cloud ones judgement and result in the wrong decisions.

An easy test is, ask yourself, if someone was to ask for your advice regarding a back up plan when starting a business, what would your answer be?

Mark Cuban, the celebrity billionaire owner of the NBA team, Dallas Mavericks, has encouraged entrepreneurs to keep their day jobs and get an education.

However, after hearing this advice, many founders would hesitate to apply it. This leads to a question, why is ‘going all in’ not the key to success?

The first answer to this question is found in Germany and Europe’s current situation. Life leads to unexpecting turns and unprecedented drops.

One may plan out every possible scenario yet one uncounted factor may leave the plan as valuable as the paper it is written on.

The second answer comes from within us, majority of people struggle when their backs are against the wall and failure is not an option. The pressure when the success of a business is the difference between feeding the family or starvation, overwhelms most.

Conversely, if success is a choice and a business is driven by passion rather than necessity, success may be easier to find.

A back up plan leads to a higher chance of success, so one would expect entrepreneurs to play the numbers game and go with the option which has the higher success rate.

But most are intent on walking the path marked plan A. The reason for this entrenched belief may be the fruits of misconception born from the tree of social media and the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ mentality.

From Donald Trump’s The Apprentice to the click bait video’s explaining ‘how to make millions of dollars in cash in 5 days!!’ Society has begun to believe the false narratives shown on the many screens surrounding us.

To illustrate this point, I use the example of Ryan Reynolds the Canadian Born Actor turned entrepreneur, founding a production company, and owning a stake in Aviation American Gin, together with other ventures.

When appearing on the Netflix Series; My Next Guest needs no Introduction with David Letterman, Reynolds shared how he always had a plan B when leaving Canada for Hollywood.

Furthermore, the use of a plan B was present in ancient times, as Julius Caesar would hold back a third of his own third line of infantry. His strategy was to use them as a backup, if necessary.

Caesar prepared for the unforeseen on the battlefield, Reynolds foresaw the unanticipated and Cuban encourages budding entrepreneurs to prepare for the surprising.

The choice is yours, place all your eggs in one basket or back your strategy up like Caesar.

Which do you choose?