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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 January 13, 2020

      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

      Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

      Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

      Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

      Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

      Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

      How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

      The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

      You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

      Physical Signs

      Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

      It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

      In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

      Mental Signs

      One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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      I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

      Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

      • The tension in your neck
      • Difficulties with sleeping
      • Unable to concentrate
      • High anxiety
      • Depression

      If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

      Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

      Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

      The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

      Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

      Desire for an Increase of Salary

      The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

      At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

      Overnight Decision

      Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

      Rejected for a Promotion

      I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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      Bored at Work

      Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

      A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

      • How long have you worked in your career?
      • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
      • Do you receive recognition?
      • Can you consider working in a new department?

      If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

      How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

      I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

      One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

      It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

      A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

      You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

      • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
      • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
      • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

      How to Make a Career Change Successfully

      The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

      1. Write a Career Plan

      A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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      You can learn how to set your career plan here.

      2. Weigh Your Options

      If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

      You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

      3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

      It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

      A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

      • Economic factors
      • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
      • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
      • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
      • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

        A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

        4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

        A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

        • What is required to be successful in the role?
        • What certification or educational development is needed?
        • What are the challenges of the role?
        • Is there potential for career advancement?

        A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

        Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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        5. Research Salary

        Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

        It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

        6. Be Realistic

        If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

        For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

        Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

        7. Volunteer First

        A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

        Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

        Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

        8. Prepare Your Career Tools

        I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

        • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
        • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
        • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
        • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

        Bottom Line

        It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

        Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

        More About Career Change

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
        [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
        [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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