The “shiny object” syndrome has become a buzzword in the entrepreneurial world. It refers to that tendency to go after anything that’s new, whether it’s an idea, a goal, or technology. Some people think it’s good since it inspires creativity and innovation. Others believe it spells doom to any endeavor, as it plunges you into the rabbit hole of distraction.
So, are you just so imaginative or are you simply unfocused? Will your business thrive or will it crash into failure? If you see the following signs, you’re suffering a bad case of this syndrome.
You keep abandoning projects
Most entrepreneurs have so many ideas up their sleeves. This is good — until you feel the urge to try everything out. That often means starting a lot, but finishing none.
This doesn’t mean disregarding ideas and opportunities altogether, however. Keep them. Log them in your journal. But try to wait out and see the results first of an endeavor you’ve just started before jumping into another.
Otherwise, you risk getting your energy spent so much that in the end, all you have is a string of unproductive endeavors. You’ll get frustrated, and worse, you could abandon doing business. So if you’ve settled on opening a restaurant franchise, for instance, focus on growing that first. The nail salon, the coffee shop, and the tech start-up can wait.
You keep changing the way you do things
It’s nice to seek different ways of getting the job done, especially when your goal is to make things more efficient. But if you’re constantly pursuing new tools or processes, jumping from one platform to another and reinventing your operations, you’ll realize you’re gradually slowing down instead of becoming more productive.
Remember that it takes time to learn a different tool or system, so the hours you spend in trying to get used to it could have been used to doing the actual work already. This doesn’t just affect you. Your employees bear the brunt, too. Not to mention lowering their morale in making them confused all the time.
Ask yourself: are you overzealous about introducing new things to make your work efficient? Have you not established a process yet? If you’re always restructuring, the shiny object syndrome is definitely getting in the way of your progress. The antidote here is perspective. Keep in mind that not everything that’s new is good and efficient.
You keep losing a lot of cash
Yes, you can’t expect a lot of cash in the first few months or years of being an entrepreneur. But this is because you’re laying down its foundation. Beware, however, of the unnecessary splurges that can cloak themselves as necessities, such as new tools, workshops, or other business opportunities to pursue.
While this can help you be better in handling your project or being an entrepreneur, it can also rob you of financial gains from your budding business. The better approach is to sit down on ideas before you actually do them.
For example, in learning opportunities, hold off the urge to sign up for conferences when you’ve attended one already the last month. In terms of new tools, ask your team if it’s really a need. When you entertain the shiny object syndrome, you’re losing not only energy, but also a lot of money.
It’s hard to know if you’re plainly creative or downright distracted when starting a business. But if you see these signs, you’re definitely a bad case of the shiny object syndrome.