I’m back again this week after the long and insightful series on startup stages and tips to fail proof your startup. Thank you all for your feedback. A number of readers of this weekly column have written to us saying they are finding the information useful. In my many daily encounters with people I meet a number of people who are literally sitting on the fence unsure of what to do next. This week I am going to focus on PROCRASTINATION.
An idea will remain just that unless you implement it. They say the cemetery is the richest place on earth, WHY? It’s because a lot of people die with incredible and bankable ideas that they procrastinated over and shelved all their lives. IT IS TRUE PROCASTINATION REALLY IS THE THIEF OF TIME. People procrastinate for a number of reasons, some are scared of failing hence they do not implement their ideas but guess what, mistakes and failures are evidence that you have tried and from them you can learn on how to improve your product and move forward.
Let us take the example of a student who delays doing things. The student keeps postponing completing their assignment, waiting until the last minute to finish their school project. We all know that it never ends well for such students. As an entrepreneur you too might choose the last possible minute to make a sales call or schedule a client visit. Guess what time waits for no-one! Procrastination is a killer of many startups. When you wait such a long time to a complete task, you miss good opportunities that you may never come across again.
Why we procrastinate
People often associate procrastination with the lack of time management or planning. Though it is true that these two have a lot to do with whether or not you take action. Procrastination goes beyond time management and planning. Many people procrastinate without even knowing it, as a result of subconscious issues like self-doubt, the fear of failure, or any other fears that make us put things off instead acting on them. This type of behavior prevents us from achieving goals, simply because we too afraid to complete tasks. The fear of the unknown takes over.
Are you an entrepreneur who procrastinates?
Some people are actually used to waiting to do something at the last minute and are not consciously aware that that behavior is getting in the way of them moving forward and growing. Others actually do it so well that they get good results even after waiting till the last minute, but wait, have you ever thought that if you had done it earlier you would have done better than just good? If you not sure I suggest you ask yourself these questions.
- As an entrepreneur, are you currently delaying an uncomfortable task until the very last minute?
- Do you wait till the very last minute to take action?
If Your Answer is yes then I am afraid you could be a procrastinator and that’s not a good thing.
The Big Question now is how do you overcome procrastination
I mentioned that time waits for no one. This is true everywhere in the world. In Zimbabwe many entrepreneurs procrastinate a lot waiting for the next event like the National Budget, Monetary Policy statement or elections. They will wait and wait even to a point where they then find that someone has launched something they had been planning on for many years. In my interaction with many entrepreneurs I hear some saying, “I actually thought of that idea but so and so beat me to it”.
There is no sense of urgency among some entrepreneurs. It’s almost like they feel that everything can wait and that’s ok. In the real world time is money and opportunities don’t wait for anyone. For you to be successful or for you to register any sort of progress and move forward as an entrepreneur you must learn to take action. As entrepreneurs we need to be hungry and dream big and putting in the work. As an entrepreneur you must measure your progress and be able to say to yourself “Last week I was here this week I am here.” If more entrepreneurs take this approach in Zimbabwe our startup community will grow fast and drive our economy.
Even with limited resources, entrepreneurs must find a way to solve our problems. In fact there is evidence that startups that launch without enough resources are stand a better chance of creating a sustainable long lasting business model. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t start a business because they don’t have money, but this limits how they can innovate and attract the money. Those with too much money end up making big mistakes and losing money because they didn’t think through.
Many people will say you can’t start with inventory. Clearly this is not true. Many successful startups today don’t own inventory they are just linking people who have it with those who can buy and making a good profit. Know your customers and what they need and you almost always ready to run a profitable business. But again it starts with no procrastinating. Start by starting!
Here are some tips on how to overcome procrastination
Don’t overwhelm yourself.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed tasks on your plate like meetings and deadlines. When tasks seem too much, here’s one way to lessen that burden: Get out your “to-do” list. Then, instead of writing down that big task as one huge thing, break it down into smaller tasks. Breaking a big task into multiple line items makes it more manageable. You have your end goal, but by reducing it to its smaller components, you get a clearer picture of what you need to do. Crossing off the smaller parts of the larger task gives you a sense of accomplishment you wouldn’t have if you tackled the massive task all at once.
Need help with your startup join a community of people who are doing the same thing you are doing. At Tech Hub we are running a platform that allows entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into startup ventures. If you would like to be part of this or want to support our activities do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.cowork.co.zw