"You are neither right nor wrong because other people agree with you. You're right because your facts are right and your reasoning is right. That's the only thing that makes you right."
-- Benjamin Graham, Columbia University, "the father of security analysts," 1894-1976
I note that there's another new quiz show on CBS television - "The Power of Ten" with Drew Carey, espousing the "principle" that the majority can determine some fact by voting on it. (If asked to vote on whether a bunny is a boy bunny or a girl bunny, will a vote of 100 to 0 make it so?) Do you think that Sumner Redstone, CEO of CBS owner Viacom uses opinion polling among his executives to make factual decisions? (Is cash flow good or bad? 85% of our managers say good, etc.)
I understand there's a writer's strike and that this is "merely" mindless entertainment, but there is a pernicious assumption being taught - that the opinion of others causes facts to be determined.
Contrast that with Ben Graham's pithy comment. Getting the facts right is the only way to be sure you are right. But don't mistake Graham's statement for an endorsement of stubbornness or single-mindedness. Those may be great entrepreneurial qualities, but only if we know what the facts really are when we apply these qualities on our ventures.
Especially when you - the entrepreneur - think about business modeling, you must have your facts right.
Have you asked yourself if you know what you don't know? (Do you have industry expertise, firsthand business management experience, access to experts?)
Have you formed hypotheses about what will work, rather than assumptions? Have you found ways to test those hypotheses for as little as possible s fast as possible?
Have you assembled comparables about your venture to give you the confidence of knowing that what you are proposing can be done? (I have seen countless plans with substantial break-evens that suggest the highest rate of sales, response, etc. can and will be achieved before financing runs out!)
Do you know where the death traps are? Have you done a rudimentary five forces analysis on the back of a napkin with someone who can be a critic?
Do you know what you can outsource and for how much and what impact that will have on your model in the survivability period?
Are you right about your facts? Or are you comforted by having assumptions validated by opinions of others?