So you may have noticed that I am not writing as often as I normally do. I apologize for that. Writing is my first love and passion, but it’s not what pays the bills so it is also the first thing to go when my schedule gets too packed.
During the last few months, I have been working on a new program that I am getting ready to launch. Now wait, don’t go! This is not an advertising piece. There really is a lesson here. Anyway, as I was saying…during the last few months, I have been working on the new program. I am really excited about it, and am sure that it is going to help tons of small businesses.
Yet, despite my excitement and dedication to this project, I can’t seem to get it launched. I want to get it just right, so that it will excite my customers just as much as it excites me. Sure, I have had a few setbacks, have had to start over a couple of times, but now, after almost three months of development, I just want to hit the play button. But in the back of my mind, the question still lingers: is it ready yet?
I just recently realized that I am suffering from one of the same issues that I help many of my clients overcome: the failure to launch. It is an illness that plagues many entrepreneurs. We have the ideas running through our heads, but how do we take that next leap of faith and actually start running, not just planning our business?
I guess it is time for me to swallow a little bit of my own medicine and actually do as I tell my clients. I believe that there are three things that can stall any new startup from launching. Oh, and by the way, this is one of those times that lists actually work.
One: Physical Issues. These are real hurdles that a startup has to overcome. They can be things like financial constraints, technical difficulties, personnel issues or even problems with a supplier or vendor. Notice, what I said above: these are real hurdles, actual issues that must be addressed before moving forward. This is the only item out of the three that actually require your attention. The other two are mental or social roadblocks.
Two: Too much well-intentioned but misplaced advice. I have to be careful here because seeking out honest advice from mentors is a necessity for success. But a good mentor will know how to give you advice that moves you forward, not that keeps holding you up. The problem is that as we start telling friends and family about what we’re doing, they all will want to have input. Most likely, they even have good ideas, but with each new idea you try to incorporate, your launch date gets pushed back further and further. Ultimately, at some point, you have to believe in your idea enough to just see it through. You can always have a phase two after you get up and running that adds in some of the other good ideas people have shared with you.
Three: Fear of failure. OK, this is a big one. we’re proud of our idea. As long as we are in development mode, we can hold our heads high and tell everyone that we things we have found the next sliced bread. The problem is that once we launch, all our ideas are actually put to the test. Is our vision really grand or just delusions of grandeur? We can plan and prepare all we want, but until our ideas are put to market, we really have no idea how they will be received. The huge thing to remember here is that a good idea is one that can evolve and adapt. The bottomline is that there is a good chance that your first take will need some wrinkles ironed out. Maybe phase two will include a huge redesign. The market is the best fire by which to refine any idea. Until you launch, all you have is theory. Get your idea to market and let your customers help you make your idea even better.
I wish I could say that with enough planning and tweaking an idea can become failproof. But this is simply not true. Yes, you need a well-thought-out plan and you should not be too quick to launch a mediocre product, yet at the end of the day, we know 100% for sure that we won’t succeed if we never launch.