It’s hard to be a perfectionist when you are an entrepreneur. Frankly, it’s also often counterproductive. While the Type A in us would like everything to be done perfectly, that’s not always the possible. And that’s not just OK, it’s required to be successful.
I have a website that theoretically needs an update. I have had many a fan and follower suggest improvements and yes, my photo is about six years old at this point. But I haven’t updated my website for an important reason: It’s “good enough.”
While my website could be improved in many ways, the reality is that my team and I are very stretched focusing on revenue-producing activities. While I could put some of those to the side and refocus several people on the website, the reality is that it won’t do anything significant for my business. Most of my revenue comes from referrals and networking. Those who do view my website to either confirm my credibility or for inbound hiring inquiries have also found it “good enough” not to deter them to take the next step. So, focusing on the site today would feed my perfectionist desires, but not my bank account.
In my business, short- and long-term revenue production is important. While I wish I could return every email inquiry within hours or days, those with small or no ROI potential may take weeks to return. And activities that would polish up my brand like a new website get back-burnered.
It’s not to say that we will never focus on them, but if they aren’t affecting our ROI -- and aren’t adding to a big enough ROI directly or indirectly -- they aren’t a priority for the team. While our interactions aren’t our ideal, they are “good enough” for our business.
That’s not to say that we suggest taking days and weeks to return customer service emails. If you have a product-driven business, making customers happy is a top priority as it impacts the long-term ROI of your business. That being said, you may get emails from a networking event that are less urgent, so actively determine where “good enough” applies and where it’s not applicable at all.
Minimum viable product
The “good enough” focus also comes into play when developing and launching everything from new products to services to content. There comes a point in the development of a new product where the features and functionality are good enough for the customer to find value with the product. That needs to be the benchmark. If you wait until every feature that you want is included and perfected, you may never get your product to market. Plus, you will have nothing to upsell to the customer in future.
The same goes for content. You can rework content -- whether long- or short-form -- indefinitely. But at some point, if you have gotten your message across, someone has checked for typos and the content is understandable to the customer, there are diminishing returns -- or no returns at all -- for spending additional time wordsmithing to your standard of perfection.
While there are times and places to be a perfectionist and to have impeccable attention to detail, sometimes to grow and move forward, you have to be content with good enough. And if it’s good enough for your customers to be happy and your bank account to increase, let it be good enough for you, too.