Waiting for Perfection is a Perfect Recipe for Failure

wisdom-92901_640We see it all the time–especially in the technology sector–companies pushing out products that aren’t perfect. Bugs, hang-ups, you name it, they exist right inside, and, it’s usually weeks, even months, before the fixes come. It happened when Disney first opened its parks, when Apple rolled-out a smartphone with a proprietary map, when this or that company introduced a product with this or that problem.

With so much money at-stake, and, the sheer number of consumers waiting with baited breath to get their hands on the latest, it’s little wonder why companies push-out products that aren’t quite ready. The question is about these instances is just why that is a reality? Why is it that mega-corporations, with some of the best talent on the planet, putting out products with bugs? The answer might lie in the quality control, or, it could be just a matter of human limitation–that is, not knowing everything about the product and/or not being able to foresee the future.

Waiting for Perfection is a Perfect Recipe for Failure

Though large organizations do introduce products that have problems, these are usually minor. However annoying the faults might be, they are not typically too big a deal. It does boggle the mind how it happens, but, it gives us a very good lesson about business: waiting for perfection is a perfect recipe for failure.

Chasing perfection can become an addiction that’s unlikely to help your peace of mind or your business. It seems counterintuitive to stop reaching for perfection, especially since we’re often told it’s the only way to achieve success. All the extra time and effort to ensure every aspect of your business is perfect won’t move your company forward, and it’s very likely to drive you crazy. —Forbes

Like the nearby quote states, it can be downright unhealthy to chase perfection. The larger lesson, though, is that nothing is ever finished if it isn’t started. We’re talking about ideas, new products and/or services, a new take on something old. Whatever it might be, entrepreneurs can’t wait to get it perfect because the longer it stays inside as a secret, the more opportunity there is for someone else with a similar idea to launch and chase their dream.

While you’re waiting to get it 100 percent right, it’s costing you time, effort, and a lot of frustration. Instead of striving for perfection, here’s what you ought to be doing:

  • Place value in feedback. You can always make changes and when people see that you’re not only willing to make them, but also to make other improvements, will come to trust your brand.
  • Understand that you have limitations. Sure, you might be able to get it to work without a hiccup, but that comes at the cost of lost time and revenue. What’s more, you’re putting way too much pressure on yourself and team to demand it be exactly right.
  • Launch in stages, if possible. If you are able to do so, release it in stages and fix along the way. Chances are if you can do it incrementally, you’ll see things that can be changed or improved for the next increment release.

While you can wait to make it great, you shouldn’t rush to completion. Sometimes, companies give into the temptation to rush something out, even if it’s completed, just to get it out to sell. When you hurry, you make mistakes and don’t have the time for consideration. Perfection is admirable, but, it means you’ll fail if you keep waiting and waiting to launch.

This type of Start up practice; don’t wait for perfection … has been formulated recently into what is called Lean Startup Methodology. Several of my colleagues and I met on this subject and we are planning a work shop for Entrepreneurs in October. As written by Steve Blank in the Harvard Business Review, “…recently an important countervailing force has emerged, one that can make the process of starting a company less risky. It’s a methodology called the “lean start-up,” and it favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development. Although the methodology is just a few years old, its concepts—such as “minimum viable product” and “pivoting”—have quickly taken root in the start-up world, and business schools have already begun adapting their curricula to teach them.” Take your idea to market and test what the buyer says about it … today!

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