February 3, 2016

Entrepreneurs: Stop talking about your idea

I often hear wannabe entrepreneurs talking about their ideas and what they want to do. In fact, I have a few friends and colleagues that have been talking about one idea or another for years. The thing is, for all their talk many of these folks have achieved nothing.

If you are an entrepreneur you need to watch what you say for three reasons:

1. You will lose credibility.

2. You will demotivate yourself.

3. Talk becomes work.

Credibility
Remember the story about the boy who cried ‘wolf’? Well, you encounter the same problem when you talk about what you are going to do, but lack follow-through. At first, people will be interested in your idea and may offer to help. However, after listening to story after story without seeing you take action they will dismiss you as a day-dreamer. As an entrepreneur you need to keep your gunpowder dry. Networking and self-promotion is vitally important to the entrepreneur, but don’t start talking about what you want to do until AFTER you have started to take action. That way you can point to actual progress to show you are a person of your word.

Demotivation
After many months or years talking about your plans and dreams, without action you will one day realize how little you’ve accomplished. You may feel like a fraud and a loser. Regardless, the chasm between talk and action will grow wider as time passes. Believe me, the wider that chasm the worse you will feel.

Talk / Work
True, some talk is required – perhaps to solve problems or get answers – but most talk is cheap. It’s easy to talk. The irony is that it also feels like you are making great progress when you talk about your ideas, when in reality you are probably stuck in the mud. Talk does not equal work – in fact, for the most part, talk takes scarce time and energy away from work. Energy (physical and mental) is a limited resource, so don’t waste another hour talking about something you want to do. Instead, use that hour to do some actual work.

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