Entrepreneurs have to be many things—like thoughtful, strategic, and deliberate. Just as importantly, though, entrepreneurs need to be decisive. And that’s not always easy. Faced with both high stakes and a wealth of information to pour over, entrepreneurs can find themselves stalled by analysis paralysis—thinking too long and too hard when all that’s really needed is a decision.
Here’s something I’ve learned over the years, though: Having a pretty good plan today is more valuable than having a perfect plan tomorrow. The example that I would use here is Microsoft, which famously releases many of its software updates with significant problems and bugs, then tries to patch those problems on the fly—responding to feedback in real time, perfecting the product once it’s really had a chance to be lived in and battle tested.
To a reasonable extent, I think that is a good model for business owners to adopt. That’s not to say study and thought aren’t important, but if you think you can ever truly hone a foolproof plan, you’re being naïve. You simply cannot plan for every contingency, anticipate every problem, or foreknow every piece of feedback. You eventually need to put your plan into motion, see how it fares, gather some constructive input, and course correct as needed.
That’s the approach I took with my company, Fuego Diablo. When we launched our site, we knew that it has some tweaks that needed to be made, some better language here and there, a fuller lineup of products—but at the time, the most important thing we could think to do was to introduce the concept, see what the response was, and use that reception to hone the site further. The Fuego Diablo site you see today is different and better than the one we launched with, and we never could have made it that way if we’d holed up in an office trying to brainstorm the perfect plan; we had to put it out there into the world and get actual feedback before we could have the site we wanted.
In other words, we didn’t have a perfect plan for the site launch, and in some regards we probably still don’t have a perfect understanding of how to make the company stick—but if you wait for perfection, you’ll never do anything. Entrepreneurs have to feel comfortable testing their ideas in the real world, not just in the laboratory; they have to be content with a pretty good plan today, rather than waiting for a perfect plan that may never come.
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