Perfectionism can be an uphill struggle in business. Are you making any of these common mistakes?

By Luisa Zhou (Business Coach & Founder,

Is your business in a different place today than it was three months ago?

Be honest. Did you meet your launch and revenue goals? Or did you push back your deadlines?

As an entrepreneur, your commitment to excellence is a double-edged sword. While it’s essential motivation for solving problems and driving innovation, if unchecked it can lead you on an unending search for perfection that will paralyze your businesses.

So how do you walk that fine line between visionary and quixotic?  Below are the top six signs you and your business are suffering from perfectionism, and what to do instead.

1. You Insist Everything. Must. Be. Just. So.

  • We can’t move on – I don’t have all the pieces figured out!
  • Our site is too ugly – we can’t share it!
  • Yes, I did just spend five hours deciding on this color.

Do any of these sound familiar?

If you said yes: Get comfortable with good enough and ditch the all-or-nothing mentality. Remember, “Done is better than perfect.” And you can always make improvements later.

2. You Keep Pushing Back Launch to Make Improvements

I worked non-stop for two years as a mobile payments startup co-founder. While in that time we raised funding and continually improved our product design to make it “good enough,” we kept on deferring our launch and ended up without an actual product. I’ll give you one guess how that worked out.

Are you guilty of continually pushing back your launch date?

If you said yes (although hopefully it’s taken you less than 2 years): Rethink your Minimum Viable Product. Place yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself what she cares about. Then focus on that and forget everything else. You can always add on more bells and whistles after you’ve validated your product.

3. You Take Rejection Personally

Have you not asked for that sale because you dread hearing “no”? Do you wake up in the middle of the night sweat-drenched because you’re afraid your business will fail?

If you said yes: You know what Oprah, Madonna, Steve Jobs and most other uber-successful entrepreneurs have in common? They’ve overcome a lot of rejection.

Instead of fearing failure, learn to embrace rejection. Because you know what? Each “no” brings you that much closer to your next success.

4. You Keep Pivoting Because “It Doesn’t Feel Right”

Are you continually pivoting to a new product without even testing your current one because your new idea “fuels your passion” more or seems more exciting?

If you said yes: There’s a time and a place for pivoting, but chasing your passion without regard to revenue makes your venture a hobby — not a business. Commit to finishing what you start and holding yourself accountable to your bottom line.

5. You Think There’s Only One Way to Work

Do you think that you have to work non-stop to make your business a success? Have you ever put off sleeping or eating or taking a break until after you’ve completed a project?

Or, conversely, do you think of your business hours as being set? Do you always take weekends off or have to sleep nine hours every night or work out every single day?

If you said yes to any of those: I used to fall into the first group. I can tell you that burning yourself out is not the answer. You are your business’s top asset, and taking care of yourself will pay off many times over in your business.

Although it’s important to take time off as stated above, it’s also possible to take too much time off. If you fall into the second group, remember this – while you’re relaxing every weekend, your competition is using that time to grow her business and thanking her lucky stars that you don’t believe in working as hard as she does.

6. If You Want Something Done Right, You’ve Got to Do It Yourself

You have high standards and you want things the way you want them. That about right?

If you said yes: It’s natural to want to do everything yourself, and even Richard Branson still struggles with this, but if you want to grow your business you need to learn to delegate.

Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and seek team members who have the skills that you lack. In addition, assess the value of your time and ask yourself if the task you’re doing is worth it. Is your time really best spent figuring out the perfect font for your blog? Or is it better spent acquiring that next paying client?

I’ve made all six of these mistakes over the past few years and wish someone would have warned me about them (especially number 2).

What are you doing to overcome your perfectionism?

Photo credit: Wassana Mathipikhai via Shutterstock.