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Perfection: The entrepreneur's biggest enemy

22 September 2014, 16:51 *Vusi Thembekwayo

I AM sure you can relate with these words ringing in your mind:

“I can’t launch yet; the platform is not PERFECT.”

“We can’t start selling these; we must make the production PERFECT first.”

“My product is good, but it is not PERFECT. So, I am going to work on it some more. Once it’s PERFECT, I will send it in droves”.

Here is a theory; when it comes to entrepreneurship perfect is the enemy of “good enough”. This is not my phrase; I got it from fellow Dragon, Vinny Lingham.

Entrepreneurs must realise that everything has a starting point. Today, we all immortalise Steve Jobs, but this is what the very first Apple Mac prototype looked like:

So, even the evolutionary genius that was Steve Jobs started somewhere.

My view is simply this: once you have the idea, start working on it. When that idea or product reaches the “good enough to sell” stage, you have to take the leap and go to market. The market will often teach you things about the industry, the customer, your competitor and yourself that you would otherwise spend months of desktop research working tirelessly on.

Here are some quick tips for breaking the “PERFECT” trap:

Have a ‘Definition of Done’

You must have a picture in your mind of what the “minimum viable product” looks like, so that you can launch when you reach that stage. Great beginnings are never perfect.

There is no soundtrack playing in the background. No montage of critical moments playing on a flat-screen as you design or build your product. Just you, long nights, early mornings, with little to keep you company, but your desire to succeed.

Don’t listen to the experts

The problem with experts is, as their title suggests, they know too much. Often they are experts of products or services, never themselves having had the courage to commercialise them.

They can force you to do the often unnecessary, complex and expensive without a clear business case, because they are taught to think through all eventualities before they act.

Entrepreneurship (at a start-up level) is about thinking to a point of personal satisfaction and then TAKING ACTION.

Trust your gut

There are many things a spreadsheet can tell you. How much. When. How. What. But the single thing a spreadsheet can never tell you is why you start a business in the first place, WHY!

Entrepreneurs are often driven less by a prevailing logic, but rather a strong reason; a strong WHY. The only connection we have to that WHY is often the hardest to rationalise, our gut.

I have learnt a few things in the years I have been in business; trust in my gut tops the list.

So remember, perfect is not a state. It is as elusive as the edge of the earth. When you are ready to launch, go to market. After all, in the grand scheme of global domination, who remembers where you started?


* Vusi Thembekwayo is one of the dragons on Dragons' Den South Africa, which will start on Mzansi Magic on Tuesday 23 September at 19:00 with other dragons Lebo Gunguluza, Polo Leteka Radebe, Gil Oved and Vinny Lingham.


- Fin24

* Vusi Thembekwayo is a business speaker who empowers his audience with new knowledge, research findings and tools that they can immediately apply in the businesses or careers to achieve “step-change” results. Follow him on Twitter.



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