On Thursday, I wrote about your #1 advantage as a small business owner. There’s another pretty powerful small business strategy advantage you have over the big guys that I didn’t mention, though. Speed! As a small business owner, you don’t need corporate approval to donate to a local auction, change your product mix, pricing or promotional plan. You don’t have to answer to a board to increase your marketing budget or change course.
If you see an opportunity to offer a new product, service or experience to your customers you can jump in and do it! And if it doesn’t work, you can stop offering it just as quickly. Things that take big companies months to implement can be done in days in small business. While you may not have as many resources, you also don’t have the hurdles, approvals and red tape to get through to make things happen. And that’s a huge advantage. Yet every single day I coach small business owners who are stalled when it comes to making decisions. They miss their window of opportunity, rendering their speed advantage over the big guy unusable.
Here are 3 tips to using speed to your advantage:
1) Imperfect action beats perfect inaction. Assess the ‘what ifs’. What if you do nothing because you’re too busy trying to get something perfect? What is the cost of the opportunity you may lose out on during your quest for perfection? The first-mover advantage? The best clients will have already been taken? Do something already!
2) Don’t make mountains out of mole hills. One year from now will you still be feeing major ramifications of this decision? If not, move on already! We tend to get too close to decisions in our small businesses. Take swift action and continue on that path until it’s no longer the right path.
3) Avoid paralysis by analysis. Some decisions require a lot of research, but most don’t. Set aside a specific amount of time for competitive research (1 – 2 hours will do in most cases) and then make a decision. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in asking ten different formus and groups for their opinion and crawling the web seeking the magic answer. It’s not out there. Just make a decision, the decision that feels right for you at the time and move forward.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one warning. If the decision has an emotional component to it, allow yourself a ‘cooling off’ period of at least 24 hours. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow.
Now get out there and use your speed advantage!