Some of us get stuck in the mud when thinking about our businesses, and others of us get stuck with our heads in the clouds. Last week we wrote about the dangers of thinking too small, but thinking too big is also a problem. Most advice encourages us to ‘think bigger’ and develop a ‘big vision’ for our businesses, and often, that’s great advice (if that’s what we need at the time). It all comes down to knowing our own tendencies and counterbalancing them to keep our businesses moving forward.
The Problem with Thinking too Big
When we think too big, we can easily become paralysed by the enormity of what lies ahead of us. Instead of tackling problems as they arise, we can see all the possible problems of building this business. And then we’re stuck. Now it’s now too hard to figure out what actually needs to be done now and in what sequence. There’s nothing wrong with seeing these potential problems, but if we spend our time focusing on them, it’s hard to take meaningful action.
6 Signs you might be Thinking Too Big
Wondering if big-picture thinking might be holding you back? Check to see how many of these you answer ‘yes’ to…
- You have a big vision for your business, but the way forward is very murky
- You’re not clear what exactly you should be doing today to have the biggest impact
- Deep down, you believe that certain tasks are beneath you (your time is too valuable/important for…)
- You feel hamstrung by a lack of capital or funding that you need to really get things going
- You spend more time talking to others about what the business will be like, than you spend actually working on the business
- Your friends are sick of hearing about your grand plans
Getting Stuck in Overwhelm
Whenever your head is swimming in ideas and your to-do list is a mile long, it’s very difficult to be productive. It’s great to let big picture thinking get you revved up, but you need to bring it down to earth to make things actionable. If you can’t see the steps to take and the mini-milestones towards your vision, it’s too easy to faff about on something unimportant.
7 Steps to Think Smaller in Business
The idea of thinking smaller in business sounds counter-intuitive – why would you want to do that? But actually, it’s incredibly smart. Taking small actions every day is how great entrepreneurs succeed.
Here are a few ideas to start thinking smaller in your business…
- Hone in on your vision statement and make it more precise than before. Clarity will get you far!
- Be super clear about your target market – niche it down as much as you can.
- Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. If you’ve got a huge list of things that are all top priority, you’ve essentially got no priorities. Two tools to help work out what you should focus on are the prioritization matrix and the bottleneck model.
- Decide on a concrete one-year goal – just choose one metric that you’re aiming to improve.
- Most importantly, break it down into a goal for the month.
- Use our one-page Actionable Business Plan template to keep you focused.
- Develop a habit of having a to-do list with just your 3 most important (small-sized!) tasks. Break down your big tasks until you can reasonably do them in 1/2 hour or so (definitely under 1 hour).