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 new bold plan to get our business acquired and make us rich! 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 sized 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 spent so much time already talking to them. 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 that the single thing that I'm 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.