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March 21, 2010

“Good enough” is many entrepreneurs’ secret weapon

(image courtesy of lakeillustration)

Entrepreneurship is fraught with golden opportunities to embrace a “good enough” attitude and we have found that those who are new to this mentality find it to be extremely liberating! It helps save them from the perils of perfectionism.

We often see women struggle, worrying that things should be perfect before they are initiated, shared, or made public. However, this desire to have things be “perfect” gets in the way of doing anything at all. Everything takes longer, your time and energy is invested into “behind the scenes” things that you cannot leverage or benefit from. Perhaps worst of all is that entrepreneurs in this position are missing out on opportunities daily…valuable opportunities for feedback, learning, success, collaboration, and promotion.

Like that old saying goes: the perfect is the enemy of the good.

For example, during the start up phase, we often see women stall their launch because their site is not perfect yet. Of course you don’t want something totally embarrassing to be posted but the reality is that for most businesses a website is a work in progress that will never be completed and will forever be altered. Your website is a perfect opportunity to try on this “good enough” mentality. Determine what will be your version 1 and post it knowing that it will be "good enough” for a certain time period.

During various growth phases, we see women who are trying to perfect a new product or offering and in the meantime are fearful to share their idea until they have it 100% completed. Of course they are all the while missing opportunities to get priceless feedback that will ultimately shape and tailor the new offering to actually be a “perfect” fit for your customers. Perhaps instead, getting a "good enough" description of the product or service will allow customers to have even more buy in and feel included in the development process.

Of course this is the whole theory around a beta version or test, though I think you are afforded some level of protection by declaring something a “beta”. It is publicly stamped as an experiment and you are pre-forgiven any errors it may contain. What we are encouraging is to consider where you can take this one step further. Where can you allow yourself start with what is “good enough” without the protection afforded to a publicly labeled beta? In many instances this is not only brave because you will be approaching a new process expecting and braced for feedback but also time and energy efficient because you will not be wasting time behind the scenes but instead will be allowing the idea to “perfect” itself in the marketplace.

Remember - nothing is set in stone. It is perfectly professional to say, you know, we tried that and have found that it doesn’t work for us for X, Y, Z reason. In many ways, the idea of "good enough" implies room for improvement, growth and change but also indicates that the concept, idea or product has legs of its own and needs some room to breathe and experiment.

posted by Amy Abrams and Adelaide Lancaster


SleeveShirt Consulting said...

Loved this article. I am at that stage with my website...tweaking copy, tweaking...tweaking..tweaking and I could be missing out on opportunities! My goal in the next month is to launch (even if its not perfect). Thank you for that kick in the pants inspiration!

Karen Naylor said...

gmailCongrats, Eileen for making your goal. This article was a GREAT reminder to just get the key elements mapped out and posted and not miss out on potential sales/contacts.

The article was timed perfectly for my needs.

Karen Naylor said...

Perfect timing for my needs to receive this article via Eileen at SleeveShirt Consulting. I, too, get caught up into the web of perfection... the harder you try to get up and out of the web, the more tangled up you get with details, constantly re-editing, etc.

Great article... And this posting is good enough for now, right?
Knaylor designs

In Good Company WorkPlaces said...

absolutely, Karen - thanks for posting! and Thanks, Eileen too. I think that one of the things I hold out on most is actually commenting on others' blogs because I want to craft a 'perfect' comment. You've reminded me to just get going and post something!