By: Lisa Slagle (I know it's July, but Logan Pass just opened, so in the spirit of that, here is a post with a lot of snowboarding references.)
One of my favorite feelings in the world is when I'm strapped into my snowboard, standing on top of a cliff, getting ready to launch off of it.
I'm comfortable in exposure like that, but I'm also just a little bit scared, and it's exciting. I'm about to let gravity and velocity take over, and all I can do is set myself up to clear any rocks in the landing, point it, enjoy the ride, and try to land on my feet, or as my brocabulary would call it: stomp it.
If I stand there too long, thinking, worrying, analyzing, psyching myself out, I almost always chicken out and don't hit the cliff, or I ride too stiffly and crash. Conversely, if I don't pay attention to what I'm doing, I almost always misjudge the landing and hit rocks or crash, tomahawking down the mountain, hoping there aren't any trees in my path of destruction. I love steep terrain. You get to see what you're made of.
Here's the thing-- I work with a lot of business owners. They put their hearts into their businesses, and I love working with them because of it.
The funny thing is, a lot of times, they seem to be waiting for the perfect moment, standing at the top of a cliff, waiting for the clouds to open up, the sun to come out, and the snow to be perfectly bottomless.
Let me explain.
I frequently hear things such as, "Let's launch the website when the time is exactly right" or "I want to offer the perfect packages. They have to be perfect." Or my personal favorite, "I'm coming up with something no one has ever done before. When it's perfect, we can design the marketing and put it out there."
Let go of perfection.
Huge props to my clients and all of their dreams of ingenuity and perfection, but you'll be happier if you let go of that.
In college, one of my art professors expressed his belief that every idea has already been thought of by someone else or will be done so by someone in the future, so no thought is original. Obviously this is only a theory since it can't be proven right or wrong, but it was exactly what I needed to hear.
It gave me an out, an excuse, a reason to let go of a quest for originality and to focus instead, on putting my spin on an idea. That's what it's all about. There's originality in the perspective YOU bring to the table.
For example, you might not be the only clothing store in town, but you are the only clothing store in town owned and operated by YOU, and your knowledge, experience, and style. And that's what your customers want. They want what you bring to the table. They want your you-ness.
This ties directly into branding and brand strategy, but that's what next Sunday's Nerdspeak 101 email is about, so make sure you're subscribed to the Build A Better Brand email series. (You can subscribe HERE:)
Anyway, if you never open your clothing store, people are never going to be able to see your brilliant ideas and ability to turn a t-shirt into so much more than just a t-shirt. If you stand on top of that cliff for too long, you'll probably back down without ever jumping off.
You can't open your store blindly either, with no regard to your target market or local competition. You have to be calculated and mindful of what you're doing, or else you'll launch off that cliff onto a bunch of rocks, destroy your snowboard, and maybe even have to sit out the rest of the season. That sure wouldn't be perfect.
When it comes to design and branding, line up your angle, take a deep breath, and hit that cliff. Hit send on your email campaign. Open your store. Run that ad for your new services. Launch the new website.
Put concentrated thought into it, but don't overthink it. Don't wait for perfection.
Be proud of yourself for taking action. Perfect or not, you put your spin on it. Own it.
Because well, you're a small business owner, and you already do.
Want to talk about design and branding?
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