It is completely possible to drive a company into the ground in pursuit of an ever-receding “perfect” launch. It is absolutely the truth that you want to strive for quality, and excellence is a virtue, but business owners quickly learn that time is actually money; if you can get a ‘good enough’ product or service to market, and you never launch that perfect version, the ‘good enough’ always wins.
What is “Analysis Paralysis”? Why Isn’t it Your Friend as an Entrepreneur?
Analysis Paralysis may be a new term to you, but you’ve definitely seen it before. Your friend, colleague, or family member thinks through the options before them and becomes so engrossed in the considerations of each side that they ultimately… do nothing at all. Analysis Paralysis is when overthinking a situation makes it impossible to move forward, which is a really sad spot to land in as an entrepreneur.
Most start-up businesses need to have a mentality that acting now and working to mitigate any consequences is a good thing. Yes, we want to create the best possible products and services; however, there should be hard deadlines on how long we debate things! As a business owner, you’ll have to get comfortable with the buck stopping with you: let those who have information for you present their cases (or present cases to yourself through research), and then make the choice. Whatever happens next will be valuable information going forward.
It can be hard to tell, especially as a first-time entrepreneur, when ‘good enough’ has arrived and any further consideration is just spinning your wheels. Here are some strategies for making sure that you and your team members stay out of your own way, trust your instincts, and gain that wonderful success you’ve been aiming for. These steps will help you launch a product and continue to innovate as you go.
Outline Goals and Objectives For Projects Concretely and Realistically
Many people don’t realize that the first step to successful “good enough” products or services is to get really specific with what you hope to achieve. For instance, if you casually want a marketing campaign to “dramatically expand our marketing reach,” you may never know if you’ve achieved your objective. If, instead, your goal is to “gather 500 new leads via sign-ups for our online newsletter,” you can know for sure whether this is accomplished or not. Yes, it is scary to know whether you’ve achieved what you set out to do, but knowing what you are aiming for is the first step to curtailing perfectionism and launching your campaign, content, or initiative.
Create a Process for Edits/Run-Throughs That Has a Hard Stop Time
If you are giving a presentation or creating a website draft, it can be tempting to have every person you know look it over before you send it, even if the last 3 people have all said it looks wonderful. With your team members, or even just for yourself, make the process clear: “I will write, my closest colleague will look it over, and if he finds anything concerning, my other team member will see it. I’ll read it once more after, and then we’re done.” Sometimes, our minds get scared of the “big picture” and find it comforting to focus on split infinitives and whether we should use contractions or not. By making a process, you ensure high quality without allowing yourself to dwell on the minutiae.
Plan Debrief Sessions After Important Events and Before The Next Event
One way to continue to improve without endless editing sessions is to make it normal to meet up after any big launch: a live event, a piece of content, or a marketing campaign, for example. When these things have launched, meet with whomever your stakeholders are and talk about what you’ve learned. Don’t frame it as a blame game; talk about what the results can tell you to do for the next launch. As the founder, you have the responsibility and opportunity to set this positive tone of responding to results with action for everyone else.
Write “Agility” Into Your Vision Statement!
As your business grows, it can become easy to let a focus on quality allow the perfectionist in your team members to rule the day. Make sure that your quality initiatives are balanced with the ability to be agile, responding to opportunities quickly and launching new products or services while the demand is there and waiting for you. If you reward agile thinking, your team will work on curbing their perfectionist impulses.
Build Innovation and Iterative Thinking Into Each Release
The way that quality grows in a fast-moving company is by actually incorporating what you learn in one round into the next. So for every piece of content, every campaign, or every product or service, make sure you are taking those transferable lessons from your debrief session, documentation and actively incorporating them in. You’ll find that, over time, you need less and less time to create wonderful high-quality work because you don’t let a single lesson go to waste.
Treat Any Critique as Treasured Feedback
As an entrepreneur, you are likely going to have at least one less-than-satisfied customer. While it is sorely tempting to allow their words to get to you, critique is feedback, not an excuse to give up. This feedback might mean that something tiny went wrong and the customer was overreacting, but there also might be a genuine opportunity to delight your customer more next time. Reach out in gratitude to complaining customers, asking for further feedback on the solutions you propose that might make their future experiences better. You’ll have a truly stunned customer, and you’ll make it clear that you mean it when you ask for honest survey results from your customer base.
We can’t make ourselves want to let go and launch, but we can put structures in place that help us respond to the fast pace of business. By gaining your high-quality results through iteration and learning from every moment, you are much more likely to stay ahead of the competition and delight your customers along the way. Speed of execution is key in today’s business world.