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Taking Action is More Important than Brains – 3 Ways to Take Better Action as an Entrepreneur

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Taking action more important than brains
There is one thing that all entrepreneurs I’ve ever talked with agree on:

You need to take action and do stuff.

Nothing ever happened from just thinking or talking about it.

This is an important trait to have as an entrepreneur, to be action oriented. However we’re not all created the same, and some are better at taking action than others.

There is no right or wrong profile when you want to become an entrepreneur, all I say is that most of the ones I’ve talked with almost all were action oriented.

Of course I’m not telling you not to plan or don’t think things through, however I am saying that as long as your thinking and analyzing you are not getting closer to the actual goal that will involve in you actually acting on a given plan.

Actually just recently a professor from BI Norwegian Business School were quoted from saying that in many organizations, there is a strong focus on attracting people with academic backgrounds, however these same people have a bias for more talking and action.

Here is what Jan Ketil Arnulf said about collaboration in the workplace (my translation):

Arnulf Jan KetilThe problem with a lot of intelligent people is that they discuss too much. In a team of academics there is more talk than action. Intelligence is a questionable and exaggerated resource, which is pushed in the schools. Taking action is more important than intelligence.

Translated from Danish

3 ways to take action as an entrepreneur

See… Even crazy Scandinavian professors agree with me on this. It must be a fact…

Brains are overrated when it comes to achieving great results 🙂

Instead you should focus on doing and building things of value. Most mistakes and changes are more often than not easily fixed down the line.

Launch sooner than later

now, later You cannot predict a market. A business plan might be useful if you need to go to the bank and get a loan, however as a working document it isn’t really worth much.

The problem is that the second you finish writing it, the world has changed.

Also it can be incredible hard to predict both your customers’ buying behavior, but also their requirements to a given product.

You might think that you have everything nailed down and you know exactly what your potential customers would like a product. However you cannot know for sure.

And you will most likely have to change your product according to your customers wishes once you launch anyway, so why not just launch a minimum viable product.

A minimum viable product is the simplest thing you can offer your customers. No bells and whistles just the core value.

Gall’s Law of System Design tells us that:

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked

So start small and expand. A positive side effect from launching early is that you will have paying customers funding the continued development of your product (and you then only develop what your customers require).

Timebox any analysis or knowledge gathering task

timeboxIf you get trapped in a never ending analysis phase (or “analysis paralysis“), it’s time to set a deadline.

Heck you might even do this before you begin.

Set aside a given period of time where you will analyze or plan a certain element of your business.

(and stick to it)

Once you have spent that time, you need to act on whatever information you found out.

The problem with too much analysis is the belief in “perfection”.

Unfortunately perfect only exists as a word.
Nothing is ever perfect. Everything can be improved.

However our minds will strive to achieve this anyway. And therefore we will always believe that we should know just a little bit more before we move on.

By clearly allocating a fixed amount of time upfront, we change the goal from “perfection” (that is hard to achieve) to a goal about time (the deadline) that is much more achievable.

So timebox your analysis and planning phase to avoid falling into analysis paralysis.

Produce more than you consume

apple tvIt’s soooo easy to consume…. Just put me in front of Netflix and a couple of my favorite series.

But remember! If you’re an entrepreneur you are dedicated to producing something that other people can consume, not be a consumer yourself!

OK, it’s hard to not consume anything yourself. I’m not saying that you should become a monk and not own anything at all.

However I am saying that you should watch your consuming/producing balance.

One of the most powerful videos on “producing” that I’ve seen numerous times are from the earlier days of Steve Jobs.

It’s under two minutes long, but YOU NEED TO WATCH IT

You want to produce products and services that others consume

Focus on taking bold action and doing stuff

Our minds will often hold us back because of the fear of failure, however this will only give us a false feeling of security, because doing nothing made us achieve exactly nothing.

If you want to become an entrepreneur you need to do something at some point, and if you want my advice you might just as well begin today.

So take one action today that will bring you closer to creating a product or a service (and it cannot be an analysis or plan ;)).

Are you taking bold action? It’s ok to brag in the comments!!!

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6 Responses to Taking Action is More Important than Brains – 3 Ways to Take Better Action as an Entrepreneur

  1. Simo Taqi says:

    Great article…! , Actually I have a big idea (that can take 6 months of work) of a networking website. I decided to build it from scratch, but as the idea is huge, and the development phase takes long time, I took 2 months to create a small product and launched it online. Just to fill the domain name I reserved, and to get some initiating users.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the small idea is very limited, and visitors don’t even bother subscribe to test it first.

    Now, I’m working from scratch on the big one, and It’ll take 6 months to launch. But I still have the first concise idea online : freespoke.com, although it has no visitors.

    I think the concise idea (which has minimum functionality), is not consumability in my case.

    If the idea is not consumable… take more time to add more functionality.

    • Rasmus says:

      Hi Simo

      Thank you for sharing your project.

      Before spending six months should probably validate your idea. You could simply have a “signup to be notified when we launch”. If you cannot convince people that they should sign up with their email address based on the description of your site, then it will most likely also be difficult to get people to sign up for accounts.

      Normally I’m teaching much simpler business models, where we typically model (and rip) what is already working and already have cash flows.

      /Rasmus

      • Simo Taqi says:

        Thank you Rasmus for your reply. I agree with you in all what you said, Yeah : It seems very logical that people will most likely be willing to sign up once they understand and like the idea.

        I’m still in the first phase, as I have no budget to start, but my own effort and programming skills… I’m working day and night to bring it to life (planning, writing codes). I also left my job to be 100% focused.

        And the concise idea I launched (on a shared hosting 😀 ) is but 1% of the whole project.

        I looked for people around me who may be interested in the idea, unfortunately, here, it’s hard to find co-founders and supporters. So I decided to work solo.

        What I liked actually about your articles, is the simplicity (and to the point) in your writing, thus I find this article for instance, is completely defining my current state.

        Tak så meget , og jeg onsker deg det bedste succes.

  2. Rasmus says:

    Thanks Simo 🙂 and good luck with your ventures. Let me know how it turns out…

  3. Early on in my business days, I had a bad habit of over planning things. I’d try to analyze and predict how my ideas so much that I’d waste an incredible about of time only to decide not to pursue the idea.

    This time would have been better spent actually pursuing the ideas in the first place. If only I could get that time back now. Stop talking, start doing!

    Thanks for sharing, Simo!

    • rasmus says:

      I totally agree with you James. However we must also respect that people are different, and some like to plan a bit more than others. However your results come from “doing stuff” not from “planning it”. So if you want success you need to take bold action at some point 🙂

      /Rasmus

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