I am a perfectionist. When I get a vision for something, I want to achieve that vision in all its glory, whether I'm creating a garden, a dinner or a company.
The result is that I ignore my garden when it gets too weedy, put off having people over for dinner, and drag my feet on launching my business, respectively. By insisting on perfection, I not only don't achieve perfection, I don't achieve any part of my goals.
You would think I would know better by now! After all, I have coached hundreds of entrepreneurs on this very issue: I tell them "Get your early revenue with a simple product. Don't wait until it's perfect because it never will be." And "It's (much) more important to get customer feedback quickly so that you can tweak the next generation product in the right direction than to try to guess exactly what your customer wants before shipping the first unit."
When it comes to spending money on new products, the customer is always right; your opinion really doesn't matter. So why waste time trying to make everything just right?
How Do You (I) Stop Being a Perfectionist?
If you're an entrepreneur who is motivated more by bringing something exciting to the marketplace and less by the opportunity to get rich, I think it's really difficult to avoid falling into this trap. You want people to have the same vision you do, to want the same new capabilities. And you don't want to diminish your vision by selling something that doesn't live up to those expectations.
The question is: What Do You Want? Do you want a viable, growing company or do you want to hold onto that perfect vision? If the answer is "Both!", then I hope you have very deep pockets or very patient investors, because it's probably going to take so long to get to market that you miss your window of opportunity.
Still struggling? Do what I did and get a coach (or two), make a schedule and stick to it!
Even Coaches Need Coaches
Plano & Simple is my third startup in the traditional sense of the word (I always try to take an entrepreneurial approach no matter how large an organization I've joined). It's the first one I've ever done as a solo entrepreneur. That means that if I don't deliver product, I don't get paid. Period. There's no one else to blame. This fact of life is, shall we say, motivating.
Even so, what finally got me to launch my marketing efforts was getting a coach for me. Someone who holds me accountable and pushes me to get the job done well enough but not (usually) as well as I want. I have one paid coach (thank you Judi at Infusionsoft) and several great friends who push me (EE, SS and JS, thank you!). The result is that I am now marketing my website and other services while building more content. Extremely not perfect, but so far, no one has died and I've gotten some great feedback, positive and negative. All in all, a small step for Plano & Simple and a giant leap for Linda Plano.
It's not easy for someone who coaches to admit she needs a coach or two of her own. However, the fact is that almost all successful people, entrepreneur or not, have mentors and coaches who insist on a plan, push for action and critique the results. And it's great to know that what I do for others also works for me!