You’ve got a new product or service to bring to market. You’ve been working on this for months. You’ve tested the market, reaching out to existing customers and potential customers to see how your new creation will be received. It’s been so well received, that you actually have pre-orders and early bird signups piling up.
You researched the best delivery systems, created your own patented procedure, and then tweaked, shifted, added, removed, and rebuilt the features.
It’s time to take this little piggy to market.
“It’s not perfect.” You work yourself into a tussle. “We can’t possibly launch now,” you announce to your team. “It just needs a few more tweaks before it goes out.”
A “few more tweaks” turns into another 6 months of development. Your product is no longer recognizable from its original state, and at the end of those 6 months, do you think you’re ready to launch?
No. It’s not perfect.
Can you relate? Have you ever delayed launching a product, program, or service, because you just couldn’t get it quite right? It wasn’t perfect and launching something imperfect into the world can’t possibly be a good idea!
Actually… it is.
If you find yourself hemming and hawing over whether or not it’s time to launch, you’re not alone. The majority of entrepreneurs and business owners suffer from Analysis Paralysis at some point in their careers. The difference is that the successful ones overcome it.
The Dangers of Perfectionism & Delay
Being detail oriented and wanting to create the best product or service possible is quite admirable. It’s a good thing… until it’s not. When you allow yourself to get stuck in the perfectionism rut, you run the risk of:
High Levels of Stress
When you started this project, you probably had a projected completion date in mind. As you get closer to that date (and then eventually pass it), your stress level will begin to soar. If you’ve got employees or independent contractors contributing to the project as well, their stress levels will skyrocket, and your insistence on perfection will be to blame.
Wasted Time (and Lost Revenue)
Imagine if Apple waited until every instance of failed autocorrect was fixed before launching the iPhone. Sure, we’d all have a lot less “ducking” in our text messages, but we’d also be walking around with BlackBerry phones in our pockets.
You can wait until your product is “perfect” to release it into the world, but just know that your competitors won’t. While you play around trying to iron out every kink, other companies will be gobbling up your potential customers.
The stress of getting your last product or program to market was so stressful, so painful, and so never-ending that when the next idea comes around, you may not even jump on it.
Imagine not sharing your solution to your customer’s pain just because it’s too much effort. That’s not why you went into business, is it?
How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis
Sit down. You’re about to hear some rough news.
Your product, service, or program… is never going to be perfect. And that’s okay.
With that out of the way, you are now free to make decisions differently. You are no longer ruled by the impossible attainment of perfection. Now, you can shoot for “good enough.”
If you just let out a gasp, it’s going to be okay.
When it’s time to make the decision as to whether a new product is ready to launch, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need any other data points to determine that this is in fact, a good idea and a good time?
- What’s at stake by me making this decision? Will it impact the future of my company, or is it just a minor blip in the radar?
- Is there a benefit to delaying my decision to launch? Is there an actual danger in moving on it right now, or is fear holding me back?
Once you’ve asked yourself (and any other key decision makers) those questions, you can evaluate whether it’s time to enact the 85% Rule.
The 85% Rule
The gist of this rule? It’s good enough. That’s it. That’s all we’re shooting for. Is the product 85% done and good enough to bring to market?
You will never have every issue figured out and every bug ironed out. It’s impossible. What you can do is have a product that will serve your customers’ needs and leave you space and the freedom to continue making improvements and upgrades. Think about that iPhone again. Are you walking around with an iPhone 2G in your pocket? Of course not! You’re probably sporting somewhere between a 7 and a 10 right now. Why? Because they keep making upgrades to it. As consumers, we don’t see this as Apple duping us into buying imperfect products. We see this as an opportunity to get the latest and the greatest in technology—complete with hilarious autocorrect fails.
Stop sitting around waiting for your product or service to be perfect. There is no better test than releasing your baby into the real world and having consumers use it. That’s when you’ll find out the tweaks, shifts, and rebuilds you need to make your product better. Not perfect… just better.
Take decisive action and realize that industries become disrupted as a result of action and innovation. Not as a result of over-analyzing and delay.