For so many of us, no matter the industry, the best part of what we do is often the act of getting started. It’s exciting, it’s new, and it’s as-yet-unsullied by reality and obstacles. We know generally where we want to end up, and that generality keeps us excited and hopeful.
But the devil is always skulking, lurking in the details, waiting to pounce on the excited and hopeful, and that’s why it is so important to finish everything in some detail before we even start thinking about starting.
Because the options available to us are often endless, and the decision-making requirements only get more exhausting.
Finishing before we start makes the best use of our time, energy, and funds because it eliminates much of the guesswork and stress involved in a project before things get guess-ed up and stressed-up. It means our costs are (mostly) predictable, our finish is (mostly) predictable, and our satisfaction with the end result is (mostly) predictable.
Marketing campaigns? Decide which message goes to which target group, agree the copy, the format, the delivery medium, the style and fonts used, and which graphics to include before you start sending.
New product launches? Finalize every detail about the product itself, how and when it will be delivered to the customer, the packaging, the delivery vehicle, the price, promotional discounts, A/B testing plan, success metrics, and sales targets before you start production.
Hiring decisions? Write the job description, think carefully about the scope of the role, decide the pay/salary structure, the profile of the ideal candidate, and create the onboarding process before you start looking.
(Chefs do this too… my cousin recently revolutionized my approach to cooking by introducing me to a concept called mise en place which loosely means everything in its place, and which I have taken to mean that you chop all the vegetables, measure out all the ingredients, and get out all the utensils you’ll need before you start cooking… Gousto and Hello Fresh have built successful companies by helping normal people finish before they start in almost exactly this way.)
Finishing before you start is a powerful tool that so often gets neglected in the excitement to jump right in and get moving. But taking a bit of time to frontload the preparation can reap big dividends in time saved, stress reduced, costs managed, and results achieved.
So, what will you now commit to doing differently in your business? What will you take time to set up before you set off? What will you get done before you get going?
What will you finish before you start?
I’d love to hear your success stories.