Most small business owners delay their progress and success because they are busy perfecting their techniques. Certainly, we all have different personality types but at the end of the day, we must check ourselves and make sure we just aren’t procrastinating by trying to make something perfect.
There are several learning opportunities for perfectionists as well as many positives:
1. Delaying the ability to learn due to wanting to be perfect
Many new business owners make the mistake of trying to get everything perfect before they take their service or product to market while failing to realize that what the vision was at launch will definitely change post-launch. It is going to change because the market will almost demand it. I am speaking from personal experience, as I launched my own company that I had in developing for 3 years.
The adjustments and updates that I have made to my service are all based on customer feedback. I used the rule of 3’s to help guide me as to when it was needed to update my product offering. To elaborate a bit on that, if I heard the same feedback three times, I knew it was a trend and one I had to adapt to.
We, perfectionists, think that we have all of the answers and the correct strategy and goal from the start.
After all, we have planned and prepared in extraordinary ways, we checked all of the boxes on all of the articles and books we have read but the missing piece is real market feedback.
For example, we can all think a home is worth x amount of dollars as the homeowner but it is only worth what someone will pay for it. Same thing in business. We may think that the product we worked on to perfect is worth something or needed but until we get it out there into the market we truly don’t know.
2. Keeping an open mind and be willing to adaptable
Being able to recognize and embrace the willingness to pivot and change your launch plan will be key to getting over being perfect. Some, however, choose not to and will likely fail. No matter how much experience or knowledge we have, we all have blind spots. These are spots that since we are so intimately involved in the process we can’t see what an outsider can. As a near perfectionist myself, hearing and receiving this feedback was quite painful and caused some early tears initially. However, as I made a deliberate choice to not push back and list all the reasons why this was not correct, I decided to embrace it and be extremely thoughtful and deliberate in every decision I made and open to every piece of feedback that I received. It was then time for me to figure out what feedback to take and execute on and what feedback to “parking lot” and revisit later. In the end, all feedback should be accepted as a gift and when you are ready to mentally accept that and stay true to it then you will be well on your way to overcoming perfectionism to the point of fault.
In the end, to help a perfectionist see the forest through the trees it is best to simply inventory everything that they have in an easy to identify way which would either be putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard. This will provide the clearest picture that one can take a step back from for a period of time and revisit to ensure the view is not clouded but rather being approached in a realistic way.
Jaclyn Strauss, CPA is a mid-level executive & founder of My Macro Memoir.