How a graduation party taught me a business lesson.

I just finished highschool two weeks ago so I thought to myself, “Why not host a small party to raise some money for college?” The plan was that every person who attended the party would give me at least 10 dollars as a congratulations present for graduating. I know, I know, this sounds very self-serving, extortive, and even a bit cynical. The morals behind doing such a thing is a story for another post because that’s not the point of this one. The point of this post is how I extremely miscalculated what I thought my earnings would be from the party.

I planned to invite about 13 people to the party. Most of them close friends and family so I was very optimistic that I would reach my goal. The conclusion was if each person gave me 10 dollars each then I would have 130 dollars by the time the party was over. I would use the money exclusively for college purposes, books, materials, not starving, etc.

Okay so the planning phase was over and the party had begun. I bought drinks, chips, and my parents even made food! You know, all the essentials needed for a “graduation” party. Everything seemed all nice and dandy right? No, this was where everything started going wrong. My plans, my calculations, the amount of people, the time, everything was going different from what I originally intended.

I invited about 13 people but it turns out only half that number showed up. Instead of changing my plan immediately I kept saying, “Maybe they will show up later.” Why? The results were right in front of me, and it was so clear that no more people were going to show up. Secondly, not only did half the amount of people show up but none of those people excluding one gave me money. In the end it turned out that I only earned 31% of what I had originally planned. Yes, that’s right I only earned 40 dollars.

Everything was radically different from what I had originally planned. Only 6 people showed up. Miscalculation. I thought every person would give me at least 10 dollars but no one gave me anything. The one person who did give me something gave me a whopping 40 dollars. Another miscalculation.

So what is the moral (yes, pun intended) of this story? Be optimistic while calculating your possible earnings but always prepare yourself for the worst case scenario because it will most likely happen. Business plans are nice but make them fluid because the situation will change. Do not do what I did. I saw the results but I wasn’t adjusting the plan at all. If you see the results, if you see the data, begin changing the game plan because the game’s rules will not change for you. That’s what I learned today.

Hey, you actually got this far down? How about following me on twitter?

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