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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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      Joel Falconer

      Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

      How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

      How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

      Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

      But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

      The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

      Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

      But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

      As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

      Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

      There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

      The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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      • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
      • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
      • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
      • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

      But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

      How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

      When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

      I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

      Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

      However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

      Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

      While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

      Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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      By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

      How to Use Visual Learning for Success

      Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

      1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

      We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

      While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

      I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

      2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

      Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

      Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

      As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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      And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

      3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

      Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

      With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

      Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

      It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

      Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

      Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

      4. Add video streaming to meetings.

      What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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      When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

      For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

      Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

      No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

      You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

      The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

      More About Learning Styles

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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