Are You a Jumper or a Planner?
By Karyn Greenstreet
copyright © 2005, by Karyn Greenstreet. All rights reserved.
There appears to be two types of small business owners: people who jump right into running their business and marketing their products and services with little or no planning, and those who plan a strategy -- and a service or product design -- before they ever dream of offering it to the public.
Is one better than the other? Yes and no.
Planning often allows you the time to brainstorm and think through possible scenarios before you commit your time, energy and money into your business idea. Ninety-five percent of the time, I advocate planning, especially if you’re starting a new business or launching a new product or service. The time you spend with research and working through possible alternatives, as well as the time you spend thinking about how you might handle worse-case scenarios, will reap huge rewards later on.
On the other hand, over-planning often leads to inaction. A phrase I love that sums it up is, “Analysis Paralysis” -- the inability to move forward on a project because you feel you don’t have all the facts, and the unwillingness to move forward until you’re 100% sure of success. Every self-employed person will tell you that there’s no such thing as being 100% sure of anything.
There is a place for jumping in the world of small business. Jumping allows you to be flexible, and to ride the wave of enthusiasm and passion. Jumping allows you to be 85% sure and then go for it. Good Jumping is action, combined with knowledge, courage and trust.
So when is jumping okay? Jumping is okay if you’ve already got a solid business foundation underneath you. This means that your finances are in order, you’ve already got a working business model that brings in reliable income and steady administrative processes that support your next great adventure. Jumping is okay if you’ve done as much research as you can and have a good sense that your project is advisable, even if you’re not 100% certain of its success.
In the end analysis, a combination of planning and jumping is required of all self employed people. The key is to find a balance point.