When I speak with any excited business owner, they never fail to see the potential in things – I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Entrepreneurs are notorious for seeing opportunity everywhere – what “could be”. And it’s you and I’s Achilles Heel, our Samson’ Hair (or whatever that analogy is)…. it’s simultaneously our strength and our weakness.
All of this enthusiasm hits the wall, though, if you and I demand certainty. I myself have a really tough time letting projects go out the door that aren’t the absolute image of perfection. And I know that this costs me money unnecessarily.
Maybe that’s you too?
Or maybe you’re the entrepreneur that is over-cautious. Not willing to put a new product out on the market unless you’re sure it’s going to be profitable, not going to hire a new staff unless you’re absolutely sure that there’s going to be enough work for her.
Overall, I don’t think that business owners like you and I have as much challenge with this as the general population, but I thought it was still valuable to provide the following analogy…
Green Lights from New York to SanFrancisco
Let’s say that you and I want to drive from NYC to SF. Exciting – road trip!!!! We’re going to have such a good time
But if we refused to leave NYC until we knew with 100% certainty that every traffic light would be green between NYC and SF, we would never, ever leave.
Or substitute that with whatever you like…. road conditions, possibilities of an accident, weather, car break-downs…. the list of possible perils is plentiful!
Or how about in your business?
I’m not opening a new location until I know we’ve got full capacity at location number 1 (even though you have a strong feeling it would work).
I’m not starting a new marketing campaign until we’ve sold out last year’s stuff (even though you are watching your competitors make a killing on the new stuff).
Again the list goes on…
Make Decisions like a Navy SEAL
That said, there definitely ARE times to hold back and not go great guns as they say.
So how to deal with this conundrum? When is it time to advance and attack despite the unknown? And when is it time to hold back and wait?
I’m not a military guy, but I once heard a story about Navy SEALs. I hope it’s accurate, and if it’s not, I hope you still find value in the principle (and sorry to the SEALs out there).
The 70% Solution
Now keep in mind that these guys (currently only men are allowed to be SEALs – judge that as you will) are making decisions of life and death essentially every single mission. The decisions they make may lead to the death of a fellow SEAL, an entire platoon of “regular” Marines, or worse an entire city or country if they fail at their mission.
You might say that the stakes are high.
Despite the fact that their missions are planned meticulously and they often use state-of-the-art equipment that you and I won’t hear about for another 5-10 years, things still go wrong for them all the time. An unexpected cornfield farmer meets them along the way, the weather turns on them, or a piece of electrical wiring breaks.
So they developed the 70% solution anytime they need to make a decision. Basically, if they have….
70% Information – 70% Confidence
….they will proceed. Not 100% information, Not 100% confidence. Heck, not even 75% of either.
Just 70% information and 70% confidence.
And if they can do it when lives are on the line, you and I can probably do the same on something like – um – a Google Adwords account, Infusionsoft decision, or marketing campaign.
Put things into perspective, hey?
Hope that Helps,