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Too Much Preparation Can Be As Damaging As Too Little

Too Much Preparation Can Be As Damaging As Too Little (1)What in the world am I talking about? How could too much preparation be a bad thing?

I’ve met with a couple of clients in the last few weeks who have spent years working on planning their business. In both cases, they reported being tired and frustrated because they have spent all this time in planning but still don’t have any revenue to show for it.

Planning is good. Don’t assume I’m saying it’s not. It may take years to get your business ready to launch. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, most start-up business owners don’t know what they don’t know, and some of them use planning as an excuse to avoid taking action.

What do I mean by not knowing what they don’t know? Let me explain.

Both of the clients I am thinking about have done lots of research. However, there were large gaps in their knowledge base. For example, one client had done all her research on registering her business. She had her LLC papers filed and had obtained her Employer ID Number (EIN). However, she didn’t know about the Business and Professional Licensing requirement for the county. One could make the case that since she wasn’t yet in a position to do business that applying for her EIN and LLC was premature.

Another client, in the health care field, had researched most of the basic business items and knew about the certifications for her field. She had obviously done her homework on HIPAA, but she was unaware of any state or county licensing requirements, nor had she considered the need for business insurance.

I don’t think either of these clients have been using planning as an excuse to not take action, though I have certainly had clients who did fall in that category. However, both of them did have large gaps in their knowledge which was hampering their ability to start.

What’s the solution?

Education is a good start. There is an extensive network of small business development centers in the nation, and their purpose is to educate business owners on what they need to know to start and grow their businesses. If you are thinking about starting a business, take as many of those classes as you can.

Writing a business plan is another solution. The process of writing a plan forces you to think about your business idea in concrete ways. I suggest writing it yourself instead of hiring someone to write it for you. There are classes available to cover the various elements of a plan, and if you do it yourself, you own it and understand why you made the decisions you did.

Finally, get some coaching. A coach is there to help keep you on track and to redirect you if you fall into the trap of using preparation as an excuse to not make progress.

With education, a plan and some coaching, you’ll be a productive, satisfied small business owner before you know it.