Are you tired of seeing yet another post on New Year’s resolutions?
If so, you are in good company. It seems every year we dust off the same old advice and overload social media with it. What would you like to improve, learn, or change this year? Make your list, share it with your closest friends, put it on your desk, etc.
The reason why I find this advice annoying is that I think it misses the point. I believe many of us don’t have a problem with setting resolutions or clarifying our goals. We know the grand vision of where we want to be. We know the business we want to launch; the website we want to build; the app idea that we can’t stop telling our friends about.
These days it seems everyone has an idea. The problem seems to be that so few of us decide to execute them. I believe procrastination is a far greater enemy than not knowing our destination. We know what we want but we find it so easy to delay things, often indefinitely.
The problem is hitting the “Go Button” and overcoming the inertia of our current situation.
This is one of the reasons why we love working with entrepreneurs. Everyone that comes through our door has a different background, skill set, and personality; however, they all share one thing. They have all decided to break through inertia and make the jump, to hit the “Go Button”, and start something.
We have been helping people build businesses for almost 2 decades now. Here are a few pearls of wisdom we’ve learned along the way.
There is never an ideal time to start
My idea isn’t refined enough yet. I need more startup capital. I haven’t got a technical founder. I should have more money saved up first. I just don’t feel ready. Any of this sound familiar?
These are all valid concerns, but a seasoned entrepreneur will tell you there is never a perfect time to start a business. They know that nothing will ever happen if they wait to get all their ducks in a row first. Starting a business always requires bravery and calculated risks.
“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” — Niccolò Machiavelli
Face your fear of failure
No one wants to fail. But when we notice a fear of failure is stopping us from doing something, we need to change our thinking. If we try, our idea may fail. But if we never try, then our idea has already failed. The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t as scared of failing as they are of not moving forward. Most say they’ve learned from their experiences and grown as an entrepreneur, even when things haven’t always worked out.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t fail… a lot. The good, the bad, it’s all part of the success equation. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. Each time only makes you better, stronger, smarter and you only have to be right once. Just once.” -Mark Cuban, (Entrepreneur & Shark Tank Investor)
Focus on momentum not perfection
In the beginning, you have a huge to do list and it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Entrepreneurs can get overwhelmed perfecting a new website, writing the ultimate sales pitch or creating a knockout marketing strategy before they launch.
For a the key is to recognize what makes a difference and what doesn’t. It is possible to waste lots of time perfecting something that your clients will never notice. Will your clients really notice the difference if you invest extra capital in that particular app feature right now?
At Band of Coders we like the Pareto Law, or as some people call it the 80/20 law. This concept suggests that 20% of your output makes 80% of your impact. It also means that 80% of what you do only make 20% difference. So the trick is to know what to focus on. What is the 20% that will make the most impact to your business? This is far more likely to achieve the momentum you need, than the slow pursuit of perfection.
How to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
No matter how big the idea, execution always comes down to a series of smaller steps. Being able to break down complex ideas into clear and achievable steps is an important skill. Otherwise you are left with just one big project and an overwhelming sense of being overwhelmed.
Celebrate the small stuff
There are two reasons for this piece of advice. The first reason is that in the beginning, most of your successes will be small. You need to learn to celebrate them.
The second reason is that we are human beings not robots (despite what some entrepreneurs believe). There is only so far you can go with raw drive and determination. We all need to feel like we are going in the right direction and reward ourselves. If we only celebrate when we become cash flow positive, we may be waiting several years!
We hope that some of these thoughts help you in your endeavors. Starting your own business is not for the faint hearted, but neither is Taco Bell.
We continue to be amazed at the ingenuity, passion and drive of our clients and we wish them every success this 2015. To those of you who are joining the race this year, we look forward to working with you.