I've always been a perfectionist. I'm afraid of making a mistake, getting it wrong, and embarrassing myself. Once my company started to do well, I worked on a new plan that would blow up our business, make us millionaires, and give us financial freedom forever! I worked, and I worked, and I worked on this business plan. And when I was almost done, I second-guessed yet another thing I had in it so I worked on it some more. But finally, FINALLY, I decided that it was perfect. It was done. It was exactly what I wanted and so we took it to market. Our bold new plan to get our business acquired and make us rich was ready! The big idea was to have a giant company in a competing industry buy us. So we went to the #1 player in the industry, the big multi-billion dollar kahuna . . . And they said, "No."
No? Wait, what? The plan was perfect. How could it be a no? Can you read it again? "Sorry, no." I was shocked. All that time invested for nothing. But then we thought, "Hey, the #1 company won't buy us but maybe one of their smaller competitors will?" So we started reaching out, eventually getting a meeting with the #4 biggest company. They were super interested, had just raised a bunch of money to buy companies like ours and we got in for a meeting with them. They told us that they were indeed looking to buy a software company like ours and had already been talking to our biggest rival for the past three months. They really liked us, our plan, our software, and us as people . . . but they were going to buy our rival because they had already spent so much time talking to them and they wanted to move quickly. They bought our rival for $40 million.
Immediately I thought, "Why did I have to be such a perfectionist? What if I had the plan ready sooner and we were here talking with them three months ago?" I didn't know if it would have made a difference but even if we had a 50% chance at $40 million, I'd sign up for that! Now, we eventually did get acquired by another business, and I got paid pretty well for a 22-year-old, but it wasn't $40 million. And ever since then I've tried to value progress over perfection, and I’ve realized that the single thing that I was missing is just momentum. I didn't have a mentor this time. I didn't model someone to learn from their success this time. And I paid the price for it.