Getting it Started vs Getting it Perfect

by Crystal on June 16, 2009

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Life Lessons

iStock_000000476010XSmall Life has a funny way of reinforcing the lessons we’re meant to learn sometimes.  I got some great lessons while I was on holidays on the Gold Coast, and my mind wasn’t occupied elsewhere. (There’s another lesson it itself)

One of the most powerful messages I got was on the second last day, just before we shifted hotels for the last night.

We’d decided to wander down to the main Mall in Surfers Paradise for breakfast.  The night before, when we’d been wandering around, we’d checked out what was on offer and there was one cafe that had a special on, a choice of several full breakfasts for $10.  One of them was vegetarian, so it seemed perfect.

After a leisurely morning, we strolled up and got there a little after 7:30.  A few other places were open, so we checked their menus, but nothing particularly different stood out.  Then we got to the cafe, and they didn’t even have their menu board out.  There was someone in there busy setting up, and he saw us, so as we wandered over to the next cafe and checked their menu board, we saw him come over to set his out too.

He also set a few chairs across the entry, obviously to close it off until he was ready.

The special looked good, and the opening time listed was 7.30, but by this time it was quarter to 8, and he was still fussing around with table napkins and menus on each table (even though nobody could get in to them). We had a choice.  The cafe next door was still setting up, but were happy for us to come in and sit down, and even order, while they did it.  The first place obviously didn’t want anyone in until they were fully set up, so we were left standing outside waiting.  The question was, did we want to wait who knows how long for him to get it perfectly set up, or did we want to eat next door, who would serve us now.

We went next door.

It was a lovely breakfast, the staff was wonderful (she even moved out of the way so we could see what she was writing on the specials board), and by the time we finished there were 3 other tables filled and enjoying their breakfasts too.

The first cafe was by now perfectly set up, but even thought the chairs had finally been moved out of the way, it was empty.

I realised that here was a perfect metaphor for one of my biggest hurdles to running an online business – and from what I read it seems to be fairly common too.  Perfectionism.

Online or offline, in business, you can’t get customers in through closed doors.

If your doors are closed because you’re waiting to put finishing touches on something, ask yourself how many customers might be perfectly happy to sit in and wait while you finish setting up, or even place an early order if you let them, and how many are seeing your closed doors and walking away to the competition.

Worth a thought, isn’t it?


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