Estimated reading time: 3 mins
In the entrepreneurial world, there are all sorts of different guides, courses, and coaching materials out there designed to help you to identify your “vision” for your company going forward, so that you can aim your energies in the right direction, while maintaining enthusiasm, focus, and motivation.
While there is certainly something to be said for all that, it’s also worth noting that many successful entrepreneurs have made a point of taking action specifically without thinking too far ahead at the outset.
Sure, if you need to buy a van, it would be a good idea to do some proper research and to buy it from a retailer where all vans have 82 point check and RAC warranty as standard, for example.
But here are some reasons why it can really pay to not think too far ahead, in a general sense, when starting a business.
Because failures and setbacks are inevitable, but they are also deeply instructive learning experiences
In any entrepreneurial endeavour you might care to undertake – or for that matter, in any endeavour in life whatsoever that you might care to undertake – some amount of failure and setback is simply inevitable.
Often, when people get caught up in the planning and logistics stage of things, and try to come up with a comprehensive long-term scheme for their business that encompasses all dimensions, what they’re really trying to do is to sidestep the possibility of failure altogether.
This is always going to be a doomed enterprise – but that shouldn’t upset you. Because, the failures you encounter as an entrepreneur will rarely be the end of the world, but they will always be deeply instructive learning experiences, if you let them.
Having a bias for taking action, rather than hypothesising endlessly, allows you to begin the process of productively “failing forward.”
Because one of the easiest ways of sabotaging your entrepreneurial career is by overwhelming yourself at the outset
In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, he mentions that he has always enjoyed diving into projects without an in-depth knowledge of what the whole process would entail – and, in fact, he comments that if he didn’t do things this way, he might well have never done anything.
Your ambitions may not include becoming Mr Olympia, or an action movie star or Californian governor, but there’s a simple truth here that can apply to everyone in just about every situation:
One of the easiest ways of sabotaging yourself is to put yourself in a situation where you feel overwhelmed at the very outset of an endeavour.
As an entrepreneur, you will undoubtedly have to face all sorts of complexities that arise along your path – the more you can take that first step without succumbing to disheartenment and analysis paralysis right out the gate, the better the odds are that you will succeed.
Because the road ahead often reveals itself most clearly while you’re in the process of walking down it
One of the big problems of trying to plan the trajectory and development of your business out in painstaking detail, is that it’s often actually impossible to know where you should turn, or what your next step should be along the path, when working things out from a purely theoretical perspective.
Often, the road ahead reveals itself most clearly while you are actually in the process of walking down it. You don’t need to know how the whole path will unfold in advance. In fact, that’s probably impossible.
What you often need to do is to take what seems to be the best step right now, and to then reassess and consider what the next step should be when you come to it.