Overcoming the Premature How
If you aren't making progress as quickly as you'd like, you may be the victim of the nefarious Premature How. The very path you've chosen towards your goal may have become what's holding you back.
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In this case, my client’s database in pristine form would have been a perfect source for marketing information. But the cost to get it there was more than the savings it would have brought. A more traditional marketing approach made the most sense.
Sometimes, Skip the Study
On the other hand, sometimes the traditional marketing approach is the Premature How. A company president was considering opening a San Francisco office. His marketing manager came with a plan to do a market study first, at a cost of about $100,000 for focus groups. He was about to sign on the dotted line when he realized that for $100,000, they could rent a San Francisco office for 6 months, staff it, and start selling. If things took off, they’d know there’s a market, and would already be making headroads into it. If things didn’t take off, they could shut it down and would have spent the same amount as the study.
It’s possible your solution may be the problem.
In this case, the cost of information gathering was more than just going for it. The president narrowly escaped wasting money on the Premature How of a market study.
Entrepreneurs, take note! This can happen to you, too. A social enterprise entrepreneur client of mine was asking me to critique different business models for his new company. He was considering a web of for-profit and non-for-profit elements. It seemed far too complicated, so we returned to his real goal: to help save the poor, misunderstood vultures in Death Valley. A few minutes’ discussion revealed that he didn’t even know if there were any existing organizations trying to do that. Before getting lost in the Premature How of choosing an organizational structure, he decided to spend a few weeks understanding existing solutions, so he could take those into account in his design.
Look at the projects on your plate. Which ones have been bogging you down? It’s possible your solution may be the problem. Re-examine it. If you spend weekends sewing zombies back together, but they fall apart faster than you can sew, the solution might not be sewing but refrigeration. So starting today, make sure you simplify your life by spotting and overcoming the Premature How.