There comes a point very soon in the new start up career when the first flush of enthusiasm has worn off, the bills start arriving and the income has mysteriously decided to take an annual vacation. The paying customers are conspicuous by their absence and whilst there’s plenty of window shoppers grazing through your shop, no-one’s putting their hand in their pocket and pulling out a wedge of used bank notes to pay for your hard wrought product or service.
Alfredo, an enthusiastic proto-entrepreneur from the Algarve soon realised that his offer of Mediterranean seafood to the assembled hoardes of inner city Northampton (the furthest you can get from the sea in England apparently) was taking its time to convince them to change their foodie habits from shoe leather to octopus and calamari. One might dispute whether there’s any difference but that’s another matter.
He became despondent very quickly, his anxiety ratcheting up by the day when the friendly bank relationship manager re-discovered his nasty streak and one of his main suppliers decided that the future of seafood sales was no longer in Northampton but back in Lisbon. Alfredo looked at his shaky business, the pile of bills and the crates of eel still wriggling on his warehouse – ie his car – floor and threw up.
Faced with almost immediate economic annihilation and the consequent personal and social ruin that he thought would follow, Alfredo was on the verge of dropping his warehouse keys back with the bank and jump on the next Easy-Jet to Faro when an email popped up on his phone screen out of the blue.
It was from the local over-dramatic opera star, Betty Van Westerhoosen, diva to the East Midlands stars, putting in the largest order of clams, sea urchins and assorted shell fish Alfredo had ever had the pleasure to read. She paid a whacking 20% deposit up front and suddenly, for the time being at least, Alfredo got to save his start up from ignominy and lived to meet the local fat lady who saved his bacon – or in his case, his langoustines.
In Business Start Up land, and indeed in life in general, it’s never over till the opera singer flexes her vocal chords: and we all need the vision of Argus All-Seeing to be able to realise when she hasn’t even left the changing room before drowning in a fish soup of despair.