The Australian Small Business Blog

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Being Ready

I am all in favour of planning. In fact if you don’t plan your business, you are just relying on luck. And we all know how a strategy based on luck tends to work out. So planning is great. But you can overplan.

When you are preparing a new direction for your business, you will do some market research. Undertake some cost analysis. Prepare in detail new procedures. Which is, of course, very good. But at some point, you hit up against the law of diminishing returns. That last piece of optimisation and spit and polish can take as long as the rest of the planning put together. And for what benefit?

When you prepare a new strategy, you may try and plan for every eventuality. But there are some things that are just unknowable, and have to be based on an educated guess. As long as these factors are not showstoppers, you should not stop the show waiting for confirmation where none may be possible.

When you commence the launch, you will find from your first contact with the marketplace, that your customers are often not too interested in the details that you sweated over, and their interest is on other areas you thought were not so significant. You need to get this information quickly. And in many cases, this information will only be available post launch. So create a process where you obtain as much information from your customers as soon as you launch, or even have a pre-launch or pilot, then and have a plan to dot i’s and cross t’s very quickly thereafter.

When you delay a launch because you are not ready, there is a cost. The longer the delay, the higher the cost. So each day or week you delay, ask the question: will my customers value the improvements I am making? Can the incomplete pieces be an upgrade, a premium version, or a phase 2. And if you delay to long, the opportunity may disappear altogether.

Many delay and delay a launch because they feel that they are not ready. They are not sure they are making the right decision, and often look around to see what others are doing. But if what you are doing is new, this may be of little value. At some point, once you have covered all the bases you can cover, and have addressed the showstoppers, you just have to take the plunge.

Whenever you do something new, there will always be a risk. But if you have done your homework, being first can have huge rewards. Its not just about making the right decision. Its about taking a decision and doing everything you can to make it right.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is a Business Coach and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems.

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