Why You Really, Really Need to Stop Looking for the Next Big Thing for Your Business

I’m not exactly what you’d call a car person. I know the basics – press foot to pedal, engine go vroom – but you’re not gonna catch me hookin’ up nitrous oxide tanks and calculating what kind of spoiler creates the best wind resistance.

What I DO know, though, is that doing a lot of cool, fun stuff to your car won’t make it work better if you aren’t also putting in basic maintenance.

And while doing things like changing your oil and rotating your tires isn’t really as big and fun as, say, attaching spinner rims and ground effects, it makes your car perform better – and you KNOW you have to do it.

So why would you only focus on the big, fun stuff for your business?

So why would you only focus on the big, fun stuff for your business?

Literally everything you do as an entrepreneur falls into one of two categories: Cool stuff that you want to do, and not-so-cool stuff that you don’t reeeeaaalllly want to do. So you do as much of the stuff from the first category as you can, and you put off as much of the other stuff as possible.

This is a dangerous pattern.

Because eventually, you run out of stuff that you want to do, and all you’re left with is the not-as-cool pile! So what do you do?

You think of MORE cool stuff you can do.

It’s a terrible affliction I like to think of as “Next-Big-Thing Syndrome.” See, when you have Next-Big-Thing Syndrome, you’re always looking for…well, the next big thing. The big project you can tackle that’s REALLY gonna make your business grow, or help you make a whooooole buncha dollars.

next big thing syndrome

Maybe it’s a new product or a service that you’re super psyched about putting together, or an idea for a promotional campaign that you think is gonna just BLOW PEOPLE’S MINDS. Whatever it is, it’s new, it’s big, it’s gonna be awesoooooome and you just can’t wait.

(Plus, it means you don’t have to waste time doing all that other sucky stuff you’ve been putting off, because this is way better and all.)

Next-Big-Thing Syndrome is NOT a good thing, though! It’s like putting that big spoiler on your car while ignoring the “check engine” light that’s been on for six months – you can tell yourself that the next big thing will make a big difference, but until you focus on the not-fun things you’ve been ignoring, you’re only making things harder for yourself.

It’s time to cure your Next-Big-Thing Syndrome. Here’s how.

Before you spend another second thinking about the next big thing you want to tackle, you need to make a list of everything you already KNOW needs to be done.

And these probably won’t be sexy tasks.

Think of the tasks and projects you’ve been putting off, and the customer feedback you haven’t done anything with yet. The outdated sales pages, the blog entries you never finished, the opt-in sequence emails that desperately need to be revised.

to-do list

The buggy coding on that one part of your website. The ancient Twitter cover photo that doesn’t fit the new formatting. All that stuff to which you’ve been saying, “I’ll take care of it later.” Guess what – it’s later. And it’s time to get bizzay.

This is where that list comes in. Write down everything that you KNOW you need to do, and do NOT add ANY new projects to that list.

It doesn’t matter how pumped you are about the next big thing – leave it off this list and set it aside. Right now, it’s time to focus strictly on the things you’ve been putting off.

And remember – you’re not Superman. (He’s not an entrepreneur.)

Right now, your main priority is just making your list – not actually tackling it. That would be nuts! If you want to actually get this stuff done and out of the way for good, you need a realistic plan.

Create deadlines for every single task on your list – including the ones you REALLY don’t feel like doing. (Sorry – it’s gotta happen.) Space them out however much you need to make sure that they don’t pile up again, and stick to your game plan.

Oh – and you’re not allowed to do anything new until ALL this stuff is done.

(Tough love, I know.)

Think of it as eating all your veggies before you can have dessert – I KNOW that you want to get to the Next Big Thing, but your business won’t get big and strong unless you deal with this stuff first!

carrots

That’s the thing about being an entrepreneur – we like to believe that solutions come from big changes instead of little ones.

Those little changes, though? They add up. When they add up too much in the “putting it off” pile, it can seriously hurt your business – but when they add up in the “I got this done” pile, they can be WAY more valuable than any Next Big Thing you can think of.

So let’s recap what you’ve gotta do.

  1. Make a list of allllll the stuff you have to get done for your business. The stuff you’ve been putting off. The obvious stuff. The not-fun stuff.
  2. Create a game plan with deadlines for every single task – and realistic deadlines, too. The only way to knock this stuff out is to go one at a time.
  3. Force yourself to actually take care of these things, and put any other big plans on hold until you’re done. No Next Big Things allowed until all the little things are out of the way for good.

And that’s it! That’s how you create a business that can grow and stay strong over time, rather than in those unpredictable spurts that come from always chasing the Next Big Thing.

So, what’s on YOUR list?

Now that you’ve actually laid out a list of the things you know you’ve been putting off doing for your business, how does it look? Got a price you’ve been meaning to raise? A social profile you’ve been thinking about optimizing? Share what’s on your list in the comments below – you might see that you’re not nearly as alone as you thought when it comes to avoiding un-fun tasks!

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About Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who gives businesses of all sizes the tools they need to make their mark on the web. She is the creator of the social media scheduling software Edgar, as well as social media marketing web courses like Creating Fame and Social Brilliant.