Sleeping with doubt

Case in point 1:

There was a time when I had to do lot of effort to get a new client; all kinds of sales pitches, demos, references in print form, company profile, showing up in a nice business dress and what not. After a certain years of work a new customer now usually means is a phone call and some negotiations on price and deal is closed.

But this new client was different. There was a long phone interview which was not ‘satisfactory’ to them and I had to invite them to my office. The business owner visited with his IT manager who brought a written list of questions to ask before the deal could be closed.

What if we grow 300% next year? Will your software able to manage our business?
What if all the 3 internet connections we have stop functioning?
What if the place your server is hosted is flooded?
What if you stop doing this business and start some other business?
What if there is a technical problem which you cannot solve?
What if all the data backups are destroyed?
What if you go bankrupt?
What if you get too rich and do not have interest in doing any business?

IT manager kept asking me these questions while the business owner was sitting on the other side enjoying his tea and pretending that that he was ‘above’ those petty questions.

I have shared just a sample of the actual questions asked. These questions were enough to offend me. But since it was first meeting with this future client and since a big amount was involved I had to show exceptional level of patience.

Patience paid off and deal was closed. And none of the questions he asked ever mattered to them afterwards.

Case in point 2:

Few years ago I used to deliver a one day session on how to do business through Internet. The basic theme was introducing people how websites worked, how internet payments worked and how difficult or easy was to setup an online web shop using free or paid online tools. This session also included some online marketing tips.

Attending one session was enough to get an idea. Since it was a free session some people attended more than once. But there were a few people who attended as many as they could.

There was always a question/answer session after my presentation. One of the regular attendees was always quick to ask many questions every time. A few of which I can remember off my head were like:

What if my product is not liked by my customers?
What if customers return the product misusing COD terms?
What if a competitor starts selling a cheaper product?
What if my website goes down during peek hours?
What if my website gets hacked?
What if my competitor builds a better website?
What if my supplier does not supply me products when I need?
What if my marketing fails?
What if my partner cheats me?
What if I get a very big order?
What if I don’t get any order?

That guy never started any business.

My case is that we cannot answer all future questions today. Let us leave some questions, may be most of them, unanswered today and start doing something. The doing part is more important then keep inventing questions in our mind and then looking for their answers. Let us live and sleep with doubt and trust ourselves to be able to answers tricky questions tomorrow or day after tomorrow or next month or next year. Getting rid of the habit of ‘deciding-everything-today’ is not easy but worth the try. You may sleep well by sleeping with doubt.

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