Is emotion skewing your numbers?

- March 21, 2013 2 MIN READ

When talking to start-ups, the first thing you generally see is the passion the founders have for their concept, idea or product. From discussing the benefits about how it’s a market game changer to the finer points where incremental steps can have a significant impact, we understand that something is driving them to succeed. But this drive to success can often fall apart somewhere along the way.

Does this sound like you and your start-up? Why could this have happened or be happening? There can be several reasons.

  • Do you have sacred cows in your business, products, business lines or time commitments that you just have to keep or have always done without thinking about them?
  • Do you feel that you have invested too much time and money into an idea or venture and to pull out now means you lose a significant amount of time, effort and money?
  • Has your start-up  become an extension of your personality?

With the above, it can often boil down to the fact you are too emotionally attached to your business.

While the emotional attachment and passion you have towards your business is probably the reason you have a level of success in the first place, it’s even better sometimes to take a step back (and away from the emotion) and look back into your business. Why? Because starting to think like an investor or advisor to your own business may tell you some interesting things.

So what are some things you should be careful of with your start-up:

  • When making decisions, don’t look at the time and money you have invested into your start-up, or product line. It just starts to become all too emotional if you do. If what you have worked on to date won’t help you achieve your goals, maybe it’s time to take a different approach. It’s like the saying, ‘don’t throw good money after bad’, the same applies to our time. Are you really willing to continue to invest your time and effort into something that won’t help you achieve your goals?
  • Numbers don‘t lie. When looking at the financial and customer metrics, use them to form a complete picture of how your start-up or product lines are going. Why, because the numbers will help you to work out what doesn’t work quickly!

So as a takeaway, and to ensure that the emotion within your start-up is used positively to achieve your goals, use your numbers. This will help you make better and more informed decisions, including sometimes, the really hard ones.

Emma Petroulas is Client Happiness Director and Co-Founder at Nudge Accounting. She also lectures in Small Business at the University of Technology, Sydney.