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Overplanning Can Kill Your Business Idea

Overplanning Can Kill Your Business Idea

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    Most articles about starting a business cover planning. Creating your business plan. Creating your marketing plan. Creating page upon page of plans, plans with great intentions and perhaps excellent potential for success. There’s nothing wrong with planning itself; if there was, I’m sure we wouldn’t see such an emphasis on it in business literature.

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    But not so often mentioned is the dark side of planning, and it’s the dark side that captures many a bright and hopeful entrepreneur into its trap ensuring that their great ideas never see the light of day: overplanning.

    I’m sure most of us have known, worked with, or even been the person who falls victim to overplanning. It’s no surprise as the planning phase is a tempting comfort zone; the idea is that the more there is planned, the more that is lined up in a perfect row and ready to go for launch, the better things will work. Things rarely work out this way. Businesses tend to grow organically, despite the best-laid plans, and when they explode with popularity from the very beginning it’s often plain luck. They may have had a good plan to help them on their way, but so did a slew of viable business ideas that didn’t succeed.

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    What’s important to note is that people who get stuck in the planning phase and never move on to execution are often stuck in planning because they are scared. They’re afraid of how their idea will be received, whether it’ll succeed or fail, and scared that if it does fail it’ll reflect on their abilities.

    Execution of plans is an art, because few people can draw on the courage to make things happen.

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    Two Alternatives to Overplanning

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      So what can you do to avoid the trap of overplanning? There are two approaches that might work for you:

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      Ready, Fire, Aim: I’m not sure who first coined this phase that describes a particular way of operating, but the first place I read about it was in this article a few years ago. The premise is that you dive straight in and start executing based on whatever plans you had to start with — in other words, acting on your idea as a plan in itself — and making adjustments as you go along. This way you’re organically growing your business as you plan its future, making sure you don’t get stuck in an unprofitable no-action phase. It’s a good concept and can be applied to plenty of businesses, especially fairly basic ones that involve providing a service as a freelancer or selling a digital product.

      Plan Deadlines First:
      Another way to try and dodge planning paralysis is to make the first act of planning the deadlines for implementation. You might stipulate that you should be advertising and working with your first client by the 1st of the next month, or your information product will be edited and ready for digital distribution within three months on a specific day.

      The hard part about making this concept stick is that you might just change the deadlines. Do what you can to make yourself accountable. Many people suggest telling a family member or friend about your self-imposed deadline but I don’t think this works effectively. It’s better to book an ad with a non-refundable deposit or make some other sort of business arrangement for that date so you’re forced to be ready!

      The first objection to that method of keeping yourself accountable is that you’re screwed if things go wrong and you simply can’t get ready by the deadline. I think it’s a fair risk to take and losing a deposit is much better than getting stuck in the planning phase!

      Lastly, I want to say that there are certain projects and endeavors that do take extensive periods of time to put together and coordinate before they can be launched. These are rare, few and far between and incredibly difficult to get off the ground, but they do exist. Chances you’re first business will be one of these? Well, I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question, but it’s also not too likely, so don’t use it as an excuse!

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      Last Updated on May 15, 2019

      10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

      10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

      Apart from making crucial decisions for their own businesses, entrepreneurs innovate and grow their ideas. Albeit there being no cookie-cutter answer that fits everyone’s experiences, taking a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs today, you might spot some similar traits and characteristics.

      Starting and nurturing a business entails a great amount of hard work and commitment. However, for aspiring entrepreneurs who are prepared to dedicate themselves to their vision, here are 10 most successful entrepreneurs you can learn from:

      1. Melanie Perkins: Know Your Worth and Keep Trying

        Melanie Perkins founded Canva, a Sydney-based business valued at $1Billion having successfully raised a number of rounds of successful funding and boasting more than 10 Million users in 179 countries.[1]

        She told BBC that one of the biggest challenges she faced getting into the business was talking about her company’s accomplishments when she first got to Silicon Valley. She attributed this difficulty to a cultural difference where Australians tend to ‘talk down’ their achievements and this would slow down her fundraising progress for a few years.

        Despite hundreds of rejections, Melanie emerged three years later with a much clearer strategy and stronger investor pitch that prompted a series of fundraising rounds netting the company $82Million of funding in total.[2]

        2. Bill Gates: Keep Learning and Exploring

          If you don’t know Bill Gates, you likely know the company he founded – Microsoft.

          Bill Gates’ story is a prime example of nurturing an idea that might seem out of this world but make sense in the future. One of the most successful entrepreneurs in history did not complete his degree at Harvard University to pursue a vision that the technology would soon become the future.

          He told a white lie to Altair, saying that he had made a computer program for them, therefore pushing himself to create a system that would change modern history.

          “The most important speed issue is convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on moving as fast as possible.”

          Gates’ success is built on self-improvement and the seeds of an idea.

          3. Elon Musk: Never Stop Innovating

            Traditional thinking suggests that in order to become a successful entrepreneur, one must focus in a single field or industry.

            Elon Musk, however, breaks that rule.

            Today, the multifaceted tech entrepreneur, investor, and engineer advocates for the diversification of skills and businesses by delving into various fields of interest.

            When done right, skills in a single domain can be carried over then applied into contrasting industries to create something new the world might need. Musk owes his accomplishments to a constant thirst for knowledge.

            Having birthed Tesla and a myriad of products across the arenas of aeronautics and software design, Musk continues to evolve as an entrepreneur and plans to innovate for the long haul.

            4. Richard Branson: Develop People First

              British entrepreneur Richard Branson founded Virgin Records in the early 1970s. Virgin Records has since grown into the Virgin Group, today responsible for over 400 companies.

              The billionaire is strongly particular about working with a team that shares his core values and aspirations.

              Branson believes that managing a business can become taxing, thus he acknowledges his employees for putting in the effort that they have.

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              A good leader knows how to raise morale for positive productivity. Utilising emotional intelligence and compassion is a game changer in seeing results within a team.

              Branson’s supports the idea of nurturing a positive work environment, with the belief that credentials must go hand-in-hand with an enthusiasm for work.

              5. Jeff Bezos: A Relentless Focus on Customer Satisfaction

                Having founded Amazon, Jeff Bezos is known to be one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. The e-commerce pioneer fixates himself on angry customers with the belief that a business’s loopholes are found in the experiences of unsatisfied customers.

                For the 8th year in a row, customers have ranked Amazon as the number one in customer service (according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index).

                While numerous companies ignore unhappy customers, Bezos found success in learning from reviews and surveys. By focusing on customer service, Amazon shows they care, both for their customers and for rising above their competitors.

                While praise and recognition are signs that a business is accelerating, criticism is an opportunity to improve a product or a service.

                6. Mark Zuckerberg: Start Small, Think Big

                  Valued at over 55 billion dollars today, Mark Zuckerberg built the first version of what would become a social networking giant in his Harvard University dorm room. As one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg undoubtedly took countless calculated risks to get his brilliant idea to its current status with 2.38 billion active monthly users.

                  “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

                  He’s always daring to explore with a fearless mindset.

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                  The young tech entrepreneur never shied away from innovating outside of the box. Soon after Facebook became a hit to users and advertisers, big corporations took interest in buying Facebook from Zuckerberg.

                  However, he took the risk and decided to stay with his creation. Turning down billions of dollars offered by Yahoo CEO, Terry Semel, he envisioned turning his brainchild into something much bigger than what it already was then.

                  7. Steve Jobs: Live Your Own Dreams

                    Steve Jobs lived a rocky path all his life and an aspect of which is a tumultuous career.

                    The founder of Apple endorsed his beliefs on the temporality of life and limitations of time. He preached about the importance of working on the very legacies people wish to leave behind, an achievement he’s undoubtedly etched into the the archives of human history.

                    Never one to hide under someone’s shadow, Jobs did not live by anybody else’s principles so he formed his own. He tirelessly dedicated himself to building a unique brand of products that became the benchmark for contemporary technology.

                    After his highs and lows through his brief battle with cancer, Jobs concludes with yet another lesson to takeaway from his remarkable life. “No matter how much money you have, even the richest man can’t buy time.”

                    8. Warren Buffett: Balance is Essential to Success

                      Despite being the third wealthiest person in the world, Warrant Buffett sported a frugal lifestyle for most of his life.

                      After buying a house in Omaha, Nebraska for just above 31,000 dollars, he has lived there since 1958. As a leading investor and a founder at Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett believes in setting aside an amount to save and spend only on necessities.

                      With a long term goal as a top priority in mind always, treating oneself can be sustainable once in a while. He advices to save money by deciding first and foremost what aspects to scrimp on and what aspects to splurge on to ensure a happy and balanced lifestyle.

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                      9. Jack Ma: Never Give up

                        On every journey to success, everybody stumbles and arrives at roadblocks. Some more than most, like Jack Ma, who survived countless rejections and failures only to get back up and brave every storm.

                        Ma is the founder of multinational technology conglomerate Alibaba Group. Despite being rejected to Harvard after every one of his 10 applications, Ma was never defeated.

                        His grit and tenacity is a fine testament to the fact that grades do not determine a future. While qualifications on paper are important, the development of skills and an attitude is just as helpful in making a recipe for success.

                        Despite finding himself in the verge of bankruptcy in the 1990s, Jack Ma possessed the resilience to put one foot in front of the other until he finally made it. “It’s important to have patience,” he says.

                        10. Tan Min Liang: Passion Can Pay Off

                          Tan Min Liang is the founder of the leading high-performance gaming hardware, Razer. Always on the look out for new opportunities to connect and scale his business, Tan has been bold in making many of his life’s decisions.

                          Having deviated from a traditional path set by a family that consists of doctors and lawyers, Tan was to find his life’s work and passion while gaming with his older brother.

                          The idea was simple: there were so many games out there to play, however, there were hardly any gaming equipment to match this.

                          So he dropped out of law and began going a different direction, into creating solutions in the gaming industry. At the start of 2019, Tan wrote to tech luminary Elon Musk to which Musk’s reply suggested of a joint venture between two of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

                          Final Thoughts

                          In today’s cutthroat world, the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur is a long and arduous process trailed with ups and downs. A valuable lesson that a good hand of entrepreneurs would love to convey to aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep the spirit of innovation and to explore uncharted waters.

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                          Learning from experience and failure is one direction to a desired end goal. Exhibiting the same dedication and grit so many entrepreneurs have through their unexpected careers – today’s budding visionaries ought to hang on their dreams and leave room for improvement along the way.

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                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Tomasso via unsplash.com

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