Restaurant budgets have a line item called “spoilage” or “wastage” to track food that’s gone bad or is unusable. Sometimes it includes breakage of glasses, stolen cutlery and those kinds of things. Restaurant owner says, Loss happens, so expect it and work it into the budget. That’s reality-based and level-headed. And it keeps you cooking.
When we’re building a menu of services or product offerings, we rarely budget for loss. We’re so determined (read: in sweet denial), that every vendor relationship will be smooth, that everyone we hire will deliver, that the new technology we buy is going to move us forward. But, that’s not so…reality-based. Or level-headed.
So when our plan is spoiled, instead of rolling with the losses, we might try to turn a mess into a feast. Which never works. Like…you invest in a graphic designer and they’re just not delivering branding visuals that you’re in love with. But you’ve already paid them a bunch of money and if you walk away, you don’t get any of it back. So you settle on a home page that’s just okay. You go to print with something that feels just alright.
There are plenty of times to fight for value and stick with the creative process until you tap the gold vein. But most often, the worst thing to do is to move ahead with something that you don’t like for the sole reason that you spent money on it.
Money loss can be brutal. I’ve spent years digging myself out of some sideways business debt. I’ve thought about making voodoo dolls of some bamboozlers I signed bad contracts with. But I never look at lost or wasted money as a waste.
A) I learned. A LOT. And in my case, it was way cheaper than the actual cost of an MBA. And our entire team learns about our strengths, our integrity, and we get clearer on our standards, expectations and intentions.
Every time we “lose” we come out so much stronger and clearer.
B) Loss happens. It’s THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. And life.
People will waste your money and your time. YOU will waste your money and your time. And in the process, you’ll make some art. Maybe even some masterpieces. Focus on the art and not so much on the loss. The money is gone, your creation will be so much better, and your ideal and prosperous future will be that much closer.