I have run my own business for 16 years now, during that time I have seen more businesses fail than succeed. Most of those have gone by the wayside because the owners followed after the “next big thing”. By that I mean a new project or idea that pulls us away from the direction our business was originally headed.
I have done this myself. When I first launched my business, it was based on training others in how to use QuickBooks. That is still the most rewarding part of my business: teaching others. But I got away from that when other opportunities took over. Many entrepenurers have suffered from the “Ooh! Shiny! syndrome”, and have lead their business down a path that wasn’t in their original intended direction.
I see this mostly with multi-level or “network” marketing companies. The people who choose one business and really work to build that business are often very successful at it. It’s when an entrepreneur gets into several companies at one time and spreads themselves too thin between too many priorities they get into trouble.
Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars also suffered the problem of getting off track with new ideas. Finally he devised a way to keep from following bunny tracks; “We’d have an idea and get excited about it but before we implemented it; I’d say, Just before we start on this long journey, I’d like to ask ourselves two things: One, are we going to finish this, and two, if we believe so much in this new idea, is there something else similar to it that just needs more commitment that we’ve already started?”
I think the “already started” is the key. Often we get off on a trail that looks really good, but when we look back we realize that project was already started at some point in the past – we just never saw it through to the finish. By re-starting the original project instead of starting a new one, you already have something to build on.
What recent project have you started that actually is very similar to one you have done before? What projects have you let slip away that really did have great potential that you need to pick back up?
Taylor, Bob (2011-02-04). Guitar Lessons: A Life’s Journey Turning Passion into Business (p. 221). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.