“Fail early, fail often, but always FAIL FORWARD.” – John C. Maxwell
I read an article recently that proposed that fear was the biggest obstacle in reaching success in business. Not lack of skill, not lack of contacts, not lack of a sound business model or marketing strategy. It is rather FEAR that is stifling the success of many businesses. This article was referring to women in business, but based on consulting with both men and women for 25 years – I can emphatically say that women do not have a monopoly on fear in business or life!
With my clients and in fact my own business I call this Analysis Paralysis. Often when we were deciding to purchase a product or service for the business, or even hire a new team member, a LOT of time was spent researching options. Ultimately, in fear of making the wrong decision, we put off making a decision so long that when we were ready to act the circumstances had changed and the whole cycle of researching and evaluating started again. This only results in a whole lot of time being spent not doing things that make money for your business. Once I decided to break this cycle I definitely saw my business take off and I have seen my clients do the same thing.
The culture I adopted – and I encourage new businesses to jump on quickly – is to act more swiftly and more often, Imperfect action towards your objectives and goals always trumps a perfect plan never implemented. Alternately, adopt the habit of acting, reviewing the results, and making a course correction as needed. I certainly would never advocate hasty decisions with no prior thought but I do encourage you to plan, act, and review, so that making decisions becomes as second nature as chewing your food before swallowing. Each action moves you to the next fork in the road and another set of potential decisions and outcomes.
When you adopt this habit of acting more quickly, you will stop considering any outcome a failure, but rather consider is just more information to make the next decision better and faster. I would encourage you to Fail Forward until you reach your goals!