Friday, December 3, 2010

Be careful of the “successful” business advice you get even when it’s someone you trust, including me…

Matthew Sprange of Mongoose Publishing made an interesting The State of the Mongoose 2010 post that was an interesting read, but one thing really stood out to me that he wrote:
For the first time in nine years, I would advise anyone looking to launch a new RPG company to halt their plans, and wait to see what happens in the market next. Now is not a good time to launch a new company.
OK, I am just going to talk plain here because there is no need to beat around the bush on this one:
Starting a business is like having a baby, there is no RIGHT TIME to do it.
With children, you could have everything going for you with more money than god and you turn out a Paris Hilton or you could be a secretary from Nebraska and turn out Warren Buffet.  There is no guarantee of success. I have said this MANY time before, most business have a 90% failure rate in the first year; over the next five years, 90% of those business fail. There is no right time to start a business but starting when the market is down will teach you a lot more about survival than starting when everything is great.  Don’t believe me, think here is something for you to chew on how many people started a “RPG business” when WOTC announced the creation of the 3rd edition of D&D and the OGL?  OK got that number in your head, now tell me how many of those business are still operating today?  Losing will teach you more about winning, than winning ever will.
When times are good everyone want to jump on the bandwagon and be part of the good thing.  That is happening right now with Paizo and Pathfinder’s success.  Every week lately you hear about a new company who is putting a new product to support them because the Paizo and Pathfinder line is doing so well.  I wonder how long it is going to take until these third party publishers create a bubble in the third party publisher support for Pathfinder? If it is anything like 3rd Edition, It won’t be pretty. 
So if you want to start your own business, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t just be aware of the dangers and handle them accordingly. And if you do fail, accept it and learn from the failure. Don’t be like those people who want to defer and pass the blame on someone and something other than themselves.  Accept the failure and THEN move on. It’s a marathon not a sprint.  Talk to you later…