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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

When is it OK to jump before you’re ready?

We need to adopt a mindset that revisions are OK.

When is it OK to jump before you’re ready?
[Source Photo: Microgen/Adobe Stock]
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You’ve likely heard a version of this expression before:

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“Jump before you’re ready to fly.”

“Ship before the product is perfect.”

“Throw the party now and clean up later.”

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“Fail fast, fail often.”

They all mean the same thing: Take action. And for a good reason. Too often we fall into the trap of “maybe next week” (or month or year). We procrastinate because we assume at a later date we will be more prepared.

It’s not necessarily an individual’s fault; our education systems put a lot of emphasis on preparation and planning. The “fall or fly” concept isn’t necessarily encouraged. We’re taught to create step-by-step modules and lean on concept testing, market analysis, and any other tool that is supposed to tell us whether we’re ready to launch.

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But the fact of the matter is that we don’t hold the reins to the universe. In other words, at the end of the day, the market always decides.

We have to realize we can’t plan everything to a T. There’s too much we can’t predict about what will happen when a product is actually out in the market and tested. We need to adopt a mindset that revisions are OK. While preparation can give us confidence, having a plan B is fine, too.

Below are three instances when it’s OK to just press “send.”

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WHEN TEST MARKETING DOESN’T ACCURATELY MEASURE UP

Test marketing can do wonders to obtain detailed qualitative information on target markets. It has allowed companies to clarify their unique value propositions and create predictive models that help forecast sales. At the same time, it can also be very costly. On top of that, it can give competitors early insight into your product or service to copy.

Unfortunately, test marketing is not always accurate. Variables might include whether test subjects know they are under surveillance. This can affect how they respond or take action.  Similarly, if you were to test your product in a smaller market, who is to say launching it in a larger market wouldn’t have adverse effects? Sometimes the excitement of swinging for the fences creates the momentum you’re looking for.

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The point is, sometimes it’s OK to take off laboratory coats, drop hypotheses, and let nature take its course.

WHEN YOU’VE BUILT HYPE AND YOUR AUDIENCE IS BEGGING FOR THE BETA

Take Clubhouse, for instance. Not only did the platform gain leverage through praise from influencers such as Elon Musk, but it also released in limited quantities. Only a select handful of iPhone users had the opportunity to gain access, and friends had to invite you to use it. The result? People created groups and online forums, hoping to connect with a friend who could send an invite.

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This method is nothing new to musicians releasing soundtracks to build hype for their audiences. Companies should look to build a relationship with their audience to keep conversations flourishing.

Additionally, offering early discounted rates prior to launch allows companies to generate revenue before opening to the public. Consider what your audience is willing to pay to be the first to use your product. Then, grant them access to additional benefits they wouldn’t have otherwise received.

WHEN BEING A PERFECTIONIST IS HINDERING YOUR GROWTH

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Many detail-oriented entrepreneurs get stuck in this trap. After all, it’s your passion, your life’s work, possibly your legacy. Why should you accept anything less than perfect?

While that drive can be a gift, it can also prevent you from reaching your potential. We are only granted so much time, and fixating on perfection slows us down. The truth is that sooner or later, someone else will ship your grand idea. We have to move fast. In fact, it’s those who can stay ahead of the market who tend to succeed.

Don’t be afraid to put it out there. It’s still in your power to unleash a more optimized 2.0 version. Imagine starting at a “good,” with the goal to continually improve. Year after year, shipment after shipment, you’ll eventually reach “phenomenal.” Relentless forward progress—that’s what makes a great entrepreneur.

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ACT, IMPROVE, REPEAT

Don’t let months of research and data pile up before you unleash your endeavor to the world. Talk about your product before it’s ready. Use feedback to improve. Lay out a tentative date that your customers can get a test version to build hype and anticipation. Lastly, remember to move fast. Nobody built anything grand by hemming and hawing all day.

It’s part of the entrepreneurial process to launch and revise. When you stay consistent with your vision and continue delivering value to customers bit by bit, experiencing a few blunders or even launching a newer, improved version of your product helps build a larger fan base.

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Solomon is a sales and marketing guru who has built a number of successful companies over the last decade. Read more at Thimothy.com.