We spend our days bombarded by a plethora of options. From what sandwich filling to choose to large life decisions like what city to live in, our options really do seem endless these days. In a time of boundless connectivity, truly global options, limitless information and complex, interconnected organizations, the result can be crippling. And with small business owners having to make so many choices in quick succession, it’s little wonder that analysis paralysis is so common.
What Is Analysis Paralysis?
You can sink into this state without realizing. It describes a state of being where you avoid making decisions, placing obstacles in the way in the guise of helpfulness. Say you want to grow your business online with search engine optimization. Instead of diving in, seeing what results you get and making small responsive improvements as you go, you find an endless stream of perfectly valid reasons to avoid action. You need to do more research. You need to run another focus group. It would be better if you could get the opinion of your business mentor first. You need just one more meeting before you can begin. Recognizing this state is actually the hardest part, because all of the above are perfectly usual actions to take. It’s recognizing where they have become more of an excuse for not acting than a sensible precaution that is the really important part. But once you recognize what state you’ve lapsed into; how do you begin to put it right?
Accept That There Is No Right Answer
The perfection myth is a real problem for a lot of individuals running businesses. We get so hung up on the idea of that one perfect solution that it becomes a reason not to do things. Fear of failure can be a huge set back to an innovative growing business. Ask any great entrepreneur what the most important lesson they’ve learnt is, and you’re bound to hear something about failure. Failure shouldn’t be a shameful event – the only shame comes from not taking the lesson out of the situation and using it to improve. If you can learn something, then failure is just an opportunity to make things better.
Make Things Simple
With the sheer volume of options out there to solve any problem that you have, it’s very easy to get mired in complex strategies, when in fact, the best solution is almost always the simplest. You don’t need a multi-channel marketing strategy to start Tweeting. Your website doesn’t need to be entirely perfect prior to launching your business. You just need to learn to differentiate between acceptable and ideal, and aim for somewhere in the middle. Then not only is there room to improve as you go along but you can learn as you go and apply that when you’re layering in more complexity. Don’t start with a hundred products and services. Begin with one, do it better than everyone else, and then use what you’ve learned to expand what you can offer. Remember – in business as in life, things are only as complicated as you want to make them.