How to avoid a blind leap of faith

What do I want to achieve? So often, in business as in life, we do things out of habit. Nothing wrong with that. Most of us like to have habits which give us a comforting sense of the familiar or the routine. We are creatures of habit.
However, growing a business frequently requires us to step out of our routines, often referred to as ‘stepping outside our comfort zone ‘or ‘stepping outside the box’. Business coaches and mentors often claim this is good for us to develop stronger, more resilient characters and more successful businesses. Whilst this may be a good idea, that doesn’t mean we should leap into the unknown quite unprepared. Quite the reverse.
Here’s some examples where preparation, or lack it, changed outcomes in tacking new projects or situations.
On Monday I worked with a web builder to develop a new website for a charity client. Prior to building the site we had worked together on a formal website brief. We planned the overall strategy and objectives. We had discussed how the site should ‘look and feel’ for users.  The Chief Executive had seen, edited and approved the brief. We’d prepared a site plan with the essential content (text, images and functionality) in advance. In consequence, most of this was successfully completed in a matter of a few hours, with only a handful minor ‘tweaks’ required when the new site was revealed to the CEO.
Yesterday I was involved as a mentor in a ‘Piranha pit’ at E-Spark. Essentially this is version of Dragon’s Den, where the new entrepreneurs on the E-Spark program pitch their ideas to mentors as a practice or rehearsal for the real deal in front of potential investors for their business. The entrepreneur had done his preparation in advance and I was furnished with a financial plan and information about his product and business idea. However, it soon became clear to us ‘Dragons’ that there were some inconsistencies between what was presented in advance and what we heard from the business owner in the verbal ‘pitch’. As more questions were being raised in our minds about his new product and his business strategy, sadly his credibility as a potential business partner lessened. Had we been been real Dragons the reposnse would have been “I’m out”.
In both my examples the businesses were doing something new. In the first, the careful planning and consultation that had gone into the process made the actual execution straightforward and manageable. Whereas many businesses take days, weeks or sometimes months to launch a new website, this one was accomplished quickly and, because it fully met all aspects of the brief, to the satisfaction of the charity concerned. In the second, although some work had been prepared in advance, the actual ‘pitch’ didn’t match the materials, so the overall impression left with the audience was one of confusion and lack of clarity. The overall purpose wasn’t achieved.
Which route does your business take? Do you invest quality time in planning and give some thought to the possible pitfalls or do you rush the preparation and risk your leap of faith ending in an ignoble crash? Having clarity of purpose beforehand and reducing risk by considering possible sources of error will pay dividends. Having clear objectives about what is to be achieved means time and effort is saved in the long run.
If your business is about to launch a new product, enter a new market or just try something that you haven’t done before, why not as the advice of a specialist with experience to help you identify and remove the pitfalls? For a confidential chat, give us a call on 01905 885 285 or contact us.