Louisiana Technology Park


Tech Park Blog



January 29, 2016

By John Nettles

It can be lonely at the top of your business. But there are times when you should not be alone.

To be effective, you need perspective. You need someone to get you unstuck, to challenge you, and to make you challenge yourself. 

But when, exactly?

Here are three problems that entrepreneurs can’t solve alone:

Tunnel Vision

Every problem-solving approach starts the same way: with assumptions.

When was the last time you checked yours?

Assumptions can be stubborn beasts—you have to whip them. But since you can’t hit yourself, sometimes you need a handler.

Solution: Find a sparring partner. It should be someone you respect – preferably outside of your organization – that can disagree with you. No “yes men” or “yes women.”

Then, simply tell them your plans, and “ring the bell” by asking for feedback.

However, be warned: If you can’t take the punches of criticism, or can’t admit when you’re wrong, your business will suffer. 

Analysis Paralysis

Try this: make a list of all the decisions facing you right now.

On second thought, don’t try that. It’s a horrible idea.

Because if you try to break out all the problem facing your business, you’ll find that the list just grows. And grows. And grows.

Until you’re sobbing in the fetal position, rocking silently in a corner.

Solution: Find an active listener. When you’ve got too much noise in your head, pulling you in all sorts of directions, it’s good to talk it out.

A good listener will not only be able to understand your business problems, but will help you organize your thoughts. This way, you can set priorities.

So try this:

Step 1) Find a partner, preferably someone in business.
Step 2) Talk about your business problems.
Step 3) Have the listener pick the three (ONLY THREE!) focus areas that they think YOU are most worried about.
Step 4) Work on only those problems, forget the rest for now.

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

In business strategy, how deep does the rabbit hole go? Well, considering entire volumes have been written about topics like finance, branding, marketing . . . pretty deep.

The point is this: don’t focus too long on one issue. The problem will just keep expanding. You won’t get anything done.

Solution: Find a moderator. Seek out someone you can consult with, and someone who can say “Time’s up, pencils down. Time for the next portion.”

And then, move forward. Even if things aren’t perfect. Most times, any action is better than no action.

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Stephen Loy