I believe that good thinking is one of the greatest assets an entrepreneur can have. Too much thinking, on the other hand, can be an entrepreneur’s worst enemy and put you out of business before you even get off the ground.
I am guessing you have heard the phrase the paralysis of analysis a million times. Paralysis of analysis, in short, is when good thinking goes bad. (To view the video I shot on this, click here .)
Many people think the paralysis of analysis phrase has been exhausted and overused to a fault. I however, believe it is not used enough. For one reason or another, people are either not listening or not paying the phrase any mind and find themselves walking into the same rabbit holes they are being warned to stay away from every day.
I know this because I happen one of them …
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My Paralysis Of Analysis
One of the biggest problems startup entrepreneurs have is getting stuck in the thinking phase and never moving into the action phase. For the past eighteen months or so, I have been caught up in by far the longest, and most drawn out startup I have ever been a part of. It has been so well thought and looked over so closely and carefully that it is as if we were trying to cure a disease. One thing about diseases, however, is that they only get solved through a lot of testing in the lab. The researchers and scientists can only play around with formulas so long until they need to test it and see if it works. Then what? Well, they go back and make modifications, re-formulate, re-test, etc etc… until they find the cure.
Startups need to do the same thing, I know that… but then again knowing means nothing if it is not implemented in the form of taking action. I talk more about taking action and doing what you know here .
So what did we do? … well we kept thinking and looking things through until we had OVERTHUNK it.
The Line Between Diligence and Ignorance
There is a fine but definite line between due diligence and ignorance and we (myself and my partners) definitely reached that ignorance point. The ignorance point happens when things go from productive to unproductive, from forward to backward, and from positive to negative. It is the point of diminishing returns. In this case, too much information started interfering with the core purpose of what we had created and it was definitely getting the best of both me as well my partners until recently (or so I hope). Quite simply, we were trying to be perfect. This is something I talked about in The Obsession To Be Perfect .
Rubber To The Road
So many startups get stuck at the conceptualization phase and never get the rubber on the road. Luckily, I stepped away for a few days and was able to get an objective view of the situation. I looked back on my past experience in business and realized that there was a point in every one of my businesses where I said, “F*ck it, we have prepared enough, the rest we will have to figure out after we take it to market.”… And that is what we did and, each time I managed to get the rubber on the road (not without a lot of unexpected obstacles along the way I might add).
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Get In The Lab
So we are now back on course, headed to the lab with the test tubes in our hands and ready to mix, modify, change and improve . It took a while, but better late than never right?
If you are a startup I suggest you do the same thing. Work hard, prepare, do your due diligence… but stay away from the point of ignorance and the paralysis of analysis at all costs. Put a plan of action together and act on it without fear or hesitation.