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How to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

Feb 15, 2022

You have a great marketing idea. The only problem is that you’ve had it for a while. Does this sound familiar? As entrepreneurs, we are curious about ideas that can take us to the next level. I have a handwritten note on my desk that was written by a robot. The envelope and note have been sitting there for the last four weeks as a reminder to get meaningful notes for my team members and clients put into action.

Why does it take so long to take an idea on an action? There could be a lot of reasons – you are scared of failure, you are uncertain it will work, procrastination, or maybe you’re too busy. In many cases, we try to get ideas almost perfect before putting them into action. This is called analysis paralysis, and it can really stunt your growth. But there’s a better way.

I have found that the most successful dry cleaners do not always have the best ideas but rather have the ability to take immediate action (either themselves or a team member). We aren’t all good “do-er’s.” I suggest all owners that I work with take the Strengths Finder Assessment by Gallup. It will accurately tell you if your top five strengths lie in the areas of doing / selling/team building/strategy. For example, I am a strong strategic thinker, and my #1 strength is ideation. I love coming up with ideas, but I am not good at doing and taking action. So I make sure to surround myself with strong action takers.

While I’ve found some exceptions, most business owners are not good action takers, and it is important to recognize this. Here is the solution I have found for this – I call it the 20/60/20 rule, and it will keep you out of procrastination and analysis paralysis.

As the owner, you come up with an idea that will propel the business forward, either solving a challenge or capturing an opportunity. And run it through a basic proof of concept – the first 20%.This might include getting a small test or getting the idea from someone who has already tested it in your market or industry.

Then you must do what few of us are any good at – you have to hand it off to someone else to implement and put into action. I call this the next 60%. This is best done by someone else (unless you are a big action taker). It is also a huge opportunity to invest in someone else’s growth. Take that store manager or dynamite afternoon retail team member, and start having them take action on your ideas. It will be scary at first, wanting to make everything perfect, but you will soon realize that the results that come from 80% of action FAR EXCEED the results that come from waiting until an idea is perfect before you take action.

And here’s the kicker – the final 20% always changes anyhow. Once you get feedback from your team or clients, you will always tweak and adjust the last 20%. Make sense?

You get it to 20%  Proof of Concept.

You hand it off to someone for the next 60%, putting it into action.

And nobody worries about the final 20%. That will always change with feedback loops.

Give yourself some grace.
Get yourself some help taking action.
And reap the rewards of faster implementation!

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