Entrepreneurs are the most optimistic people on the planet. If you look at the odds of succeeding in business, it makes sense that anyone who wants to start a business is naively optimistic. As empowering as this optimism may be, it can also set a growing business up for failure. Longshot deals that have a 1% chance of going through are “Done!” in most entrepreneurs’ minds. If a startup gets a tiny nibble from a Fortune 500 company, for example, the founders might decide to redirect all of their resources to focus on closing that deal. But if they don’t have a backup plan when the deal inevitably falls through, they’re up the creek without a paddle.
Everyone from investors, to strategic partners, to potential customers will play footsie with you, only to leave you stranded in the eleventh hour. Be skeptical and expect the worst – 99% of potential deals will fall through. And the bigger the deal, the more skeptical you should be. Stay focused on the fundamentals and keep executing. Then, if a deal actually closes, you can think of it as a bonus!