5 Ways to Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome
There is a drastic difference between having ideas and being able to turn ideas into successful business ventures.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you are naturally bursting with fresh ideas and boundless energy; however, channelling innovation into tangible success requires the ongoing management of shiny object syndrome.
When you are buzzing with the possibilities of an exciting new idea, it is easy to find yourself off course and distracted. Yet unwavering focus, careful time management and perseverance are key skills to master if you want to succeed as a small business.
The fast-changing business pace in the UK and Ireland means shiny object syndrome is a growing risk for any entrepreneur.
With the pitfalls of shiny object syndrome guaranteed to damage your chances of long term business success, it is imperative you can recognise the signs of shiny object syndrome and have a bank of ways to overcome it.
Let’s look at what shiny object syndrome is and 5 easy ways to overcome shiny object syndrome fast.
What is shiny object syndrome?
Ideas are essential for any entrepreneur, and it is vital to be open to change. However, Shiny Object Syndrome or SOS, is what happens when your ideas never produce tangible results.
Instead of allocating the necessary time and actions required for the first idea to grow, you move on to a new one, leaving the first idea unfinished.
Have you ever watched a baby who has learned to crawl?
They have an attention span that lasts for about three seconds and are attracted to anything new or shiny. When something catches the baby’s eye, they will crawl off pick it up, give it a shake, then drop it and crawl off in the other direction because something else caught their eye.
Suppose you are always chasing the latest new approach, priority or business idea without ever focusing on following an innovation through to completion. In that case, you could be suffering from shiny object syndrome.
It’s a growing problem because we live in an age where we are frequently hit with new information 24 hours a day. From emails to television programmes, online ads and social media posts, it is impossible to escape the ease with which you can access new ideas for your business.
However, just because change is possible, it doesn’t mean it’s good and what works for one business, won’t necessarily work for yours. Let’s take a look at the pitfalls of shiny object syndrome.
The pitfalls of shiny object syndrome:
For small businesses in the UK and Ireland, it is almost too easy to get distracted. The result? Your business veers off course, and you waste precious time then both you and your staff end up frustrated.
- Few successes: Shiny object syndrome means your business will see few successes because you never give new strategies enough time or energy to deliver the results you want.
- Poor time management: Time is money, particularly if you own a small business where juggling multiple tasks is an essential skill. Implementing innovations requires lots more energy than mastering your craft.
To pursue the new, you must become a learner again, which means time spent on education rather than profit. There is nothing wrong with learning new skills, but it needs to be done in a managed way; otherwise, you won’t earn the income necessary to keep your business afloat.
- Burn out: Ultimately, constantly spinning from one innovation to the next, will leave you burnt out from simply trying to do too much. Business success is about finding your niche and mastering it.
If you are constantly emitting the high energy of a newbie, you are simply spinning plates. The outcome will be a business without focus. You won’t achieve the results you want, you’ll lose confidence in your own decisions and the support of your team, and eventually, your motivation to be in business will fade away.
Here’s how you can overcome shiny object syndrome and ensure that doesn’t happen:
5 Easy Ways To Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome
- Ideas journal:
Ideas are good, and change is necessary, but neither should be happening all the time. Record your ideas in a notebook or your phone, so you always have them with you.
From time to time, please take a look through your ideas journal and chew them over. You might find an idea you really like or one that solves a current problem you have.
Ideas are brainstorming; they are not finished concepts. When or how you apply an idea to your business is not fixed, and many ideas will never see the light of day.
If after some time, you still feel a burning urge to pursue an idea, ask yourself the following questions:
- What will it do for my business?
Ask yourself what tangible results will this idea produce for my business? List them, then be really honest with yourself about how much value those results will really deliver for your business long term.
- How much will it cost my business now?
Lots of innovations promise to yield great results in the future. The catch is always that you are required to part with large sums upfront.
Calculate exactly how much a new idea will cost your business now, and every month. Be really honest with yourself about whether you can afford this extra cost now, next month and in a year.
Next work out how much profit you’ll make in twelve months - the chances are, this innovation will have a little financial reward for your business.
- Do I already have this?
It is so easy to collect things you already have. Whether it is a new purchase, approach, app, or business solution, ask yourself if you've already got this?
Have you already asked someone in the team to work on this? Have you already implemented this strategy? Have you ever purchased software that has the capacity to do the same thing?
Don’t forget to include other team members in this process who may remember things you don’t.
- How does this fit with my goals for the next 12 months?
All of these questions finish here. Ultimately, it would help if you were building your business through a process of pre-determined goals that you review at the beginning of each year.
Your aim is to become a leader in your niche, and your business goals should be the steps you will take to get there.
The pursuit of your business goals needs to be steadfast if you want to achieve business success. With all your answers to the previous questions in mind, consider your idea in terms of your business goals for the next 12 months than in the longer term.
Will this idea help you to achieve your business goals for the next 12 months? How much of a priority is this new idea in comparison to the goals you already have? Will this new idea take you away from existing goals and where you want to be at the end of the year?
The chances are, pursuing the new idea will distract you from your business goals, take you away from your vision and deliver zero return on investment.
If you use these questions every time you are tempted to pursue something shiny and new, you’ll soon find this thought process becomes automatic – your ongoing tool to overcome shiny object syndrome.
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