As an independent entrepreneur you have a lot of responsibilities, to do lists for days and sometimes no idea where to start first. There is a good chance that you have a condition that many entrepreneurs have: Shiny object syndrome. If you suffer from this, it is very wise to ban this virus before it completely affects your company.
Shiny object syndrome in action
Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is also known as 'disease of distraction'. In not-so-tasty Dutch: the disease of distraction. Unfortunately, it affects you as an entrepreneur precisely because of the qualities that make you unique. Entrepreneurs are often super motivated and like to try out the very latest marketing gadgets and developments. Moreover, they are not afraid to start new projects and create new things.
Great features, but...
Normally these are great features, but when SOS sneaks in, it forces you to pick up and figure out every new idea, marketing option/trick. Because there is so much possible and offered, the tests pile up, nothing is finished and in the end nothing really works optimally.
The Shiny object syndrome is so called because you can compare it with a small child who sees a different glittering object every time. Once she sees the glittering object up close, she immediately loses interest and starts looking for the next glittering thing. For entrepreneurs, instead of literally glittering objects, that could be business objectives, marketing strategies, webinars, challenges, courses, clients, projects, or even other ventures.
When you really need to be careful
Keeping yourself and your company informed about new opportunities is not a bad goal in itself. The real problems only start when SOS goes unchecked and you recognize the following:
- You can't really finish projects . It's easy to get excited about a new project before completing the previous one. What's worse is that you go full into it before the earlier project has been able to show that it might have been valuable. If you've been working on an SEO strategy for a month or two and then switch completely to another strategy, you'll never see the long-term benefits of maintaining that SEO strategy properly. A waste of the investment of those two months...
- Ideas and guidelines are not planned . People with SOS tend to focus on the novelty of following a particular strategy, or making a specific change, rather than the strategy or change itself. For example, they really love the idea of creating a new product and start working on it, but with no long-term planning on how to execute that idea. That leads to lousy executions and bloody projects (that could have been potentially successful).
- Wasting Money . There are hundreds of apps, challenges, courses, and programs for businesses that are impressive, effective, and even just plain fun to try. Unfortunately, if you're trying everything, tracking everything and trying to keep up, jumping from platform to platform, you're wasting so much money (and time!) that these tools become super cost-inefficient.
How do you combat SOS?
In other words, what can you do to ban SOS?
- Breed your ideas before you act on them . Get some sleep before you start working on that new project that will 'change everything'. Do some more research on the idea and consider whether this is really the next best thing for you and your company. Not every idea has to be executed, and giving yourself this time can save you from making a hasty decision.
- Communicate with the people you work with . If you have a new idea, talk about it with your network/wolfpack (just talk to people who know about it!). Ask them what they think and listen to their perspective. Putting things into perspective sometimes helps a lot to make the right choice.
- Write it down . Write down all your potential plans in a notebook. Then you lose it temporarily, but not forever. Who knows when it will still be useful. Not everything is necessary and not everything is NOW.
Set both long-term and short-term goals with each new project . Don't just dive into something completely new without writing down a clear objective. We call it a 'Master Plan' ourselves. Whenever we develop a new course, project, program or tool, we first follow such a plan. Not complicated and extensive, but to the point. Matters such as goal, target group, mission, cost indication and launch are described in it.
- Only stop running projects if necessary . Don't stop until you reach the long-term goals. You have deliberately stepped in, now you have to finish it too! The only exception is if your project is going to cost a lot more money than expected, or if the market has suddenly changed dramatically to keep your project successful.
- Make an Annual Plan . Make that annual plan and follow it, this will prevent ad hoc behavior and that is better than a cure. How do you make such a plan? You can find that and many more useful planning ideas in our Master your planning program .
Fortunately, SOS is not a real medical condition. It is a problem for the development of your company. Now that you have read this article, it is intended that you will pay attention to your behavior and know when SOS arises so that you can immediately intervene and correct it.
If you are alert to SOS, it will ultimately ensure a more balanced and effective path for you and your company. trust me!
The cure against shiny object syndrome
If you opt for content marketing , you will focus on a strategy, a mix that works for you. This often resolves Shiny object syndrome to a large extent.