I learned a tough lesson last week.
I was faced with a past regret when I received an email from a company called On24. What stood out to me immediately were their virtual trade shows, and they stood out to me because I had that idea long before they did, but never acted on it.
As an entrepreneurial CFO, I’m a part time Chief Financial Officer that performs CFO Services with a background primarily in the owning and operating of small businesses throughout my career. In addition to my CFO practice, I still co-own a property casualty insurance agency with a partner even today. Back in the year 2002, I created a business plan for Virtual Trade Shows that small companies who couldn’t afford to attend or exhibit at important trade shows could attend online in lieu of showing up physically.
Their latest virtual show looks exactly like what I had envisioned all those years ago. It’s frustrating to see them succeed with an idea I had but didn’t follow through on, and looking back, I know the main reason I never followed through with this concept was that I was fraught with self-doubt. I allowed myself to become bogged down by worries that I couldn’t raise enough money, couldn’t get the technical programmers, couldn’t get enough people interested at that time, and so on and so on. I had only ever executed business plans that were on a much smaller scale prior to this idea, and I let that small business mentality daunt me to the point I abandoned the idea entirely. Sad not only for me, but for the companies my idea was intended to help.
Meanwhile, On24 has picked up my slack, possessing 3 Venture firms on their board and certainly looking like they’re doing extremely well. Apparently whoever founded On24 did not let their doubts about raising money, finding programmers or their project’s timing deter them, and look at the wonderful result they have to show for it.
If you take away anything from this little story, it’s hopefully that you should never let self-doubt stop you from serving the world.