If you’re looking for ways to grow your business, there are many of them out there. You can research the tried and true ways, you can opt for the path less traveled or you can work up a hybrid that will give you the best of both worlds. However, if you’re looking to fail, to stop your business dead in its track and to severely limit yourself in profitability, you need to do only one thing.
You have to wait. That’s it. Just do nothing.
I get to speak with lots of small business owners in my travels. The other day while seated on a train I met a man named David. David sells audiophile records through his Web site and with so many people finally pulling out of the recession he had some ideas on ways he could grow his business to reach new customers. He had been working on his plan since the recession first started, knowing the summer would also be slow. He’s been filling a notebook for almost 9 months now, all filled with ideas. But nothing implemented. Just notes of all the things he wanted to do to increase the profitability of his computer. Things he’d do eventually. Someday.
The problem with “someday” is that it’s not on the calendar. That day you’re waiting for isn’t coming.
The Telegraph had an interesting article last week showing how 20 popular Web sites looked when they first launched. Included in the list were the first iterations of Google, Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, YouTube, Wikipedia, Apple (that’s a beauty) and other sites that most people would instantly recognize. Big brand sites. And it wasn’t pretty. Most of the sites look pretty crude, with only a glimpse of the functionality that they have now. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if these sites weren’t launched until they were “perfect” and “ready”. If Larry Page and Sergey Brin wouldn’t have launched Google until they had every page on the Web already indexed and spidered.
My guess is that Google, along with the rest of them, never would have launched. They’d still be a small business owner’s great “someday” idea
We all suffer from this type of paralyzing perfection. The voice in our head that says it’s not ready yet, that it’s not good enough to go live. But at that rate, you’ll never take that next step. You’ll sit on the product until it’s not “new” anymore, you’ll suck the excitement of everything that you do.
One of the great things about being a small business is the freedom you have to experiment. Things don’t have to be perfect right out of the gate. You can try things. You can launch unfinished. You can fail and you won’t be crucified for it. You may even be applauded for your efforts.
As a small business owner, you need to take chances. Your whole business is a chance. Be true to that. Get rid of the negative thinking and just do it. If you wait for “perfection”, your business will never grow. There will always be enough distractions and more important work before you can launch.
Find a way to balance your goal of striving for quality while avoiding paralyzing perfectionism. Something that is “almost ready” but up and running and getting traffic will always be worth more than the perfect idea still in your head.
Stop waiting. Start launching.