I looked at my bank balance and started crying.

After investing $15,0000 in a new project, it was a total failure and sacrifices had to be made. Looking back on it, I should have seen the signs that the project would fail. My heart loved the idea of investing and participating in a business venture that helped reduce energy usage and saved companies money. What we hadn’t considered at the time was the lack of a proven business model.

After a post-mortem exercise, the glaring flaws in our business seemed obvious. What if we could have seen the obvious before we had started? Had I known this little trick I could have.

Not long after this disaster, I learned about something called a pre-mortem.

In the simplest terms, a pre-mortem is just like a post-mortem, except you do it before the project starts instead of after it fails.

How to conduct a post-mortem

If you’re a food entrepreneur, you probably have lots of ideas. They could be events you want to hold, products you want to create or partnerships you want to form.

Many of us have done post-mortems, but if you haven’t here is a brief description.

A post-mortem is a meeting (or self-reflection if you’re a solopreneur) run at the conclusion of a project, where you, your team, and your clients look at the results of a project and determine what worked, and what didn’t.

For instance, if you’re creating a new SKU in your line of products, inputs might be the ingredients that go into the end-product, the recipe, the mixing process, the equipment, the packaging, the people doing the cooking and mixing, the delivery mechanism, and even customer expectations.

Upon completion of any project or initiative, a post-mortem is a useful tool.

A pre-mortem is even better

While the post-mortem is a well-known exercise, a pre-mortem is an even better tool, and it is simple to execute.

The great thing about a pre-mortem is it will stop you from making expensive mistakes.

To do a pre-mortem bring your team together, or do it by yourself if you’re a solopreneur. Pretend, in as many ways as possible, that your project has finished and it was a total disaster. Be vigilant about making this future scenario seem real. Imagine it failing, think about how you’ll feel if you lose significant money or hurt relationships. Do your best to feel like you would feel if your project or idea failed miserably.

Now, go through the exercise of determining why the project failed. Was it the people involved? Did you have the wrong equipment? Bad ingredients? Was the customer set the wrong people to target your offer?

There are many ways a business or project can fail, but only a few ways for them to succeed. Run this strategy before embarking on your next big project.

To watch the 5-minute lesson on how to conduct a pre-mortem and download the worksheet to use as a guide, fill in your email below.