As the world becomes smaller and technology more powerful, an ever-increasing number of people are being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Against a general background of economic uncertainty, the idea of taking charge and becoming the captain of your own ship is an incredibly appealing one.
There is, however, something of a chasm between the desire to become an entrepreneur and the actual practical steps involved in making it happen. An enormous amount of people find themselves marooned at the idea stage, endlessly turning their theoretically perfect plans around in their minds, but never actually executing.
It’s a particularly easy trap to fall into, and one that can take many productive years off your entrepreneurial endeavours. Let’s look at some key reasons why this happens:
Ideas Are The Easy Part
When it comes right down to it, ideas are a dime a dozen – what really matters is execution. As General George S. Patton so pithily put it: A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
Many people get overly fixated on the fact that they’ve come up with an entrepreneurial idea at all, and waste oceans of time jealously clinging to its details, rather than getting out there and seeing if it holds up in the wild.
Execution Involves Failure
No matter how good your plan is, aspects of it are inevitably going to fail – that’s part and parcel of actually trying to get things done. One of the key differences between entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs is that the former recognise the importance of failure and embrace it.
There’s an element of fear to be grappled with here – a plan that’s never executed can never really fail after all. At some stage, you need to look that fear in the eye and accept the possibility of failure by actually moving off the blueprints and out into the real world.
The First Step Is The Hardest
Another classic source of early inertia is actually taking the first concrete step on a new enterprise of any kind. An excess of focus on planning often leads to a particularly insidious form of decision paralysis that can keep you on the starting blocks for years.
Faced with a seemingly endless array of potential jumping off points, it’s much easier to retreat back into the comfort of the planning stage than it is to actually roll up your sleeves and get started.
You Need To Be Willing To Constantly Learn
Planning may give you a theoretical future framework within which to grow, but it’s a necessarily incomplete picture of what’s coming down the tracks. As your business grows, unpredictable real-world events will fill in the gaps and show you the areas where you need to up your game.
One of the key truths of the entrepreneurial life is that you’ll have to take on new skill sets at each stage of business growth. You’ll soon come to realise that ongoing education is as much a part of your overall mission as planning is.
Planning is a crucial part of every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, but only when accompanied by a rigorous approach to execution. Particularly in the often chaotic early stages of a business, it’s your commitment to the second part of the equation that will determine your overall chances of success.
Take on board the points we’ve outlined above and you’re in great shape to elegantly sidestep the pitfalls of procrastination and actually put those plans into action!
About the author:
Tracey Daniels is a co-founder of the Real Business Group, an organisation which assist entrepreneurs and business owners to reach the next level in their business.