The Perils of Perfectionism

The Perils of Perfectionism

Have you ever held back from implementing a new idea, publishing a blog post, or updating your website because it’s not quite perfect?  I know I have. And I’ve regretted it.

I had an interesting conversation with a client yesterday about why his blog hasn’t been updated in four months. He told me that he has half a dozen draft posts already written, but none are “good enough to publish.” So, while he polishes each draft to perfection (while also taking care of the myriad of critical activities needed to run a business), his blog languishes. It looks neglected. Potential customers assume he’s not engaged in his business – and they take their business elsewhere.

Many of us are afraid of failure. If we publish or implement something that’s not perfect, what will people think? What if they don’t like it? Or buy it? What if we fail? It’s an uncomfortable thought and it drives us to keep working on something until it’s absolutely perfect.

The thing with perfect is that we never get there. And so we sit and do nothing while our competitors pass us by. They know that putting something good out there is far better than putting nothing out there.  They focus on implementation – not perfection.

In the online world, implementation is everything. Customers can’t read your mind; they can only see what you publish. And “good enough” truly is good enough. Businesses that are successful online implement now and perfect it later – often based on customer feedback and analytics. It’s far easier to get it right when you have data to use.

Done is better than perfect. Tweet this!


  1. Morris May on April 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Oh so difficult to balance, but there can be an advantage to the not so perfect. If you are looking to engage with customers, then it is perhaps better to pose so questions and possible thinking around solutions, rather than preach. A blog that has good comments on it can encourage other s to share their thoughts, as well as pose questions and create conversation (and the I am special… they are listening to me)

    Again it is back to having a good plan and goal… what do you want to acheive… what did your client want to acheive? SEO ranking, Klout, perfection or did he hope to gain some business?

    • Monica Hemingway on April 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      The “not so perfect” often feels better to readers – it looks like you’re a real person who’s having a conversation with them. As for my client – he wanted to bring in business but was concerned that if the blog wasn’t perfect, potential customers would be turned off. So instead he turned them off by not posting. Interesting, eh?

  2. Stanley Gazemba on April 5, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Great! I think it’s the best approach to beat indecision and procrastinating doing things that should have been done yesterday. Nothing is ever perfect!

    • Monica Hemingway on April 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      So true – and by pursuing perfection we end up never getting things done – not a good way to run a business!

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