I was going to write about how procrastination kills projects seven months ago. That article wasn’t going to be so personal.
Then life got in the way. As it always will, if you let it. So what happened?
Out of the blue, my partner of over 25 years got a diagnosis so terrifying that we had an emergency wedding. “Emergency” as in, we woke up that morning not knowing we’d be married by teatime.
Eternal thanks to the Newport Registry Office, the Royal Gwent Hospital, and the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff for facilitating that. Even more so for making her condition more manageable for now.
Yeah, writing a blog post pales into insignificance in the face of that, doesn’t it? So why share it? Because there are some important business points to note here.
Priorities vs. Procrastination
First, my business didn’t rely on this post being written. Nor did my family’s income or well-being. It wasn’t remotely a priority, let alone business-critical.
Second, I’m doing it now. Partly because, according to one of my clients, I have “a work ethic you could bend iron bars around”. Also because persistence is one of the main ingredients of success.
Mainly, though, I’m posting this because I help small businesses and startups. So I see many delaying website projects that are business-critical for them, for reasons like:
- Trying to “perfect” plans — which always change as soon as they’re started, anyway
- Waiting for the right time — which will never happen
- Being “too busy” with work and schoolday schedules — which don’t normally take up whole days
- Planning for, enjoying, and recovering from, school and bank holidays. Nothing will change unless your priorities do
- Cycles of paralyzing stress, partly about not getting on with the project
Sometimes, some of these can be important, and even unavoidable. Sometimes, taking a break is the best thing you can do.
Often though, serious business owners have to work around such distractions. Because otherwise, they can easily delay projects for months, or even years.
If you can’t prioritise your “life-changing” project over avoidable distractions, you won’t succeed in changing your life. It’s as simple as that.
If you wanna be the best, if you wanna beat the rest — dedication’s what you need — Roy Castle
The Cost Of Change
So I’ve had several months of daily dramas — and it’s really hard to stay focused through something like that. Unless you can control it, change costs focus.
Still, who hasn’t? That’s precisely what marketers, journalists and politicians use to keep us off-balance, scared, and controllable.
The difference is that we can turn most of those distractions off. Some are important, but many are beyond our power to change in the short term. Yet if you focus on them too much, they’ll create and aggravate that paralyzing stress I mentioned above.
Serious entrepreneurs have to focus on silver linings, because that’s where the silver is. That can be hard. Especially without support from other small business owners — because family and friends rarely share that mindset.
Speaking of silver and delays though…
As I write, inflation in the UK is approaching four times what it has been for the past 30 years. Small businesses can’t absorb those increases as readily as larger firms. Especially those of us who keep our margins low to help others.
For example, when I started out in 2005, a basic small business website in the UK cost £2000. That’s what government grants were based on.
Considering inflation alone, that would be equivalent to about £2850 in 2021. 10% inflation over 2022 would push that over £3100 by 2023. These days, templated design packages can keep prices down, but the point remains valid for more bespoke projects.
So procrastination can now cost you as much in three months as it used to in a year.
How To Avoid Project Procrastination
Okay, so you can’t find time to start the project right now — or maybe you just need a bit more time to get the finances together. Or both. Still, you’re committed to it, right? That is what matters. The rest, we can work around, but without commitment, your dreams will never come true.
So if you’re dealing with a small firm, ask if you can pay a non-refundable deposit to fix prices for a while without necessarily starting straight away.
You’ll find some can accomodate that quite easily, and may not have been available immediately anyway. Just don’t expect them to schedule your project or hold their prices without some sort of payment plan in place.
The answer’s “Yes” for my affordable small business web design packages, by the way. I’ve specialised in helping small firms since 2005, so I know how important it is to be flexible.