When lightning strikes, proceed with caution

Most entrepreneurs dream of getting their big break, but make sure you're ready for it.

Curt Hudson/AP/File
In this file photo, a player puts a dollar coin in one of Resorts Atlantic City's dollar-coin slot machines in Atlantic City, N.J. Many business owners long to catch a lucky break. The trick is being prepared to capitalize on it, Dr. Cornwall argues.

Most entrepreneurs dream of that one big break.  For some businesses it is getting the one big customer.  For others it may be betting that magical "shout out" from a national thought leader or big time media outlet.

Should you always walk through the door of opportunity that the big break opens for you?  Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.
If the big break is what pushes your business forward to success.  Business on Main has a video about a chocolate maker who got national attention for one particular recipe for beer infused chocolates.  Orders went through the roof.  And fortunately she was able to put in the twenty hour days it took to make her big break lead to success in her business.

But some big breaks end up  becoming more nightmare than a dream come true.  It can lead to demand that far exceeds your ability to deliver in terms of quantity and quality.  Or it can fundamentally change your business in ways you never planned for.

One local coffee shop here it Nashville has had the opportunity to scale up in a big way through franchising.  But the owner knew that it would compromise the quirkiness that has been the key to the success of his coffee shops.  So he has said no to such proposals.

I have seen too many businesses actually ruined by what appeared to be the big break of their dreams.

Think hard to be certain that the break will allow you to scale the model and pursue the vision that you already had in mind.  Some breaks require a fundamental change, not just a pivot, of the business model.  If you pursue this type of opportunity make sure you do so with a clear understanding of what it means and how it will change your business.

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