Pursuit of Perfection is Killing Your Business
Many of us have a little problem, and this problem is magnified in entrepreneurs. Our drive, our ambition, our talents, they all contribute to our success. However, when you own a business and don’t just work in it, the things that contribute to our success can sometimes hinder it. Because we are our own business in many ways, we want things to be perfect—and it’s that desire for perfection that’s killing a lot of small businesses.
There’s a difference between preparation and procrastination
If you like to be well prepared, you’re not alone. Having an action plan is important for all businesses, both big and small. However, there’s a big difference between preparing fully for something…. And putting it off altogether.
When you prepare for something, you put time into it. You think about the problem from as many angles as possible and develop actions to solve the problem. But then, you start systematically taking action to find a solution.
Too many business owners are stuck in their own heads. They think they’re preparing, but what they’re actually doing is delaying taking action—so procrastinating. All the preparation in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t make a decision and stick to it.
Make a decision and stick to it
Why is this so hard for people? Maybe it’s in our nature as human beings to second guess ourselves. And while this is a natural response, if you’re constantly jumping from one strategy to the next, your business is going to suffer—big time.
Think about it: If you’re constantly watering a plant without giving it a break to sit in the sun, it’ll never grow.
When a small business owner sees that something “isn’t working”, they’re pretty quick to jump ship and move on. The problem here is that they’ve usually abandoned their strategy without really giving it the time it needed to be successful.
So how do you know if a strategy is a true failure or if it needs more time to grow? Well, you’ve got to balance your expectations against your resources.
Managing expectations vs. resources
The number one reason that business owners don’t stick to their decisions? Unrealistic expectations. No Karen, you aren’t going to get 100 new paying customers in the next 90 days from writing new blogs and spending $50 in Facebook ads each week.
I wholeheartedly believe that the online gurus have desensitized most entrepreneurs with their “overnight successes”. There’s this sense of, “Well if she can do it, I can too!” That’s not always the case. Naturally, you’ll go farther faster if you have the funds to build your product more quickly or reach more people in a shorter amount of time. But the majority of small businesses lack in resources—marketing budgets, manpower, and even supplies.
Lack of budget, in particular, leads business owners to look for quick and easy solutions. NEWS FLASH: there are none.
Here’s what you can do to keep your business going strong
While pursuit of perfection may be leading your business down a slippery slope, you can do a few simple things to keep things under control and moving forward:
Make a detailed plan. Pick strategies that are a smart fit for your business goals and set reasonable time restrictions of at least 4-6 months to work on each one before you move on to another.
Once these decisions have been made, stick to them. Not only should you be giving your strategies the time they need to bloom, you’ve got to be putting in the effort during those months. (Simply saying you have a strategy without truly dedicating the proper effort to execute on it just isn’t enough.)
Keep your expectations reasonable. If you’re short on resources, your growth will be slow—and that’s ok. Put your time and money in places where you can get the little wins that will help you slowly build momentum.
Use your time and resources in the smartest possible way and don’t get caught up in trying to have everything just so. Progress takes practice, it takes time, and it takes persistence…. And those things can be messy. So instead of being perfect, start being effective and give yourself the space to grow.
Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage
Shauna is a growth consultant working closely with brand leaders to on marketing strategy while guiding them on execution and accountability. She acts as a marketing director for early stage startups looking to make the largest impact possible with big ideas and small budgets.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women in doing the same. She works on all this when she’s not roadtripping with her husband and four kids or sipping red wine and eating cheeseburgers.
Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.