Shiny Object Syndrome – What it is And How to Resist it

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An enthusiastic and creative entrepreneur often has tons of ideas in mind. And, the more creative an entrepreneur is, the more he can think of ways to try to grow his business. It is more likely that he has an abstract vision of where he would want to take his business. But, if this is not put into proper color then the vision will be as it is – vague.

The Truth About Creatives

Creatives have the tendency to not stop at just one idea. They are overflowing with curiosity about things around them and thus can culture broad interests in areas that don’t connect or relate to one another. And, in their effort to get their curiosity satisfied, they become aggressive, assertive and willing to take greater risks.

While this is an absolute necessary trait for an entrepreneur to have to be successful in his business, too much of it can also be detrimental.

A Case Study On Shiny Object Syndrome

We take for example one businessman who is into electronics, installing sound systems and acoustics as his core business. But, since he also has this passion on growing fish as a kid, he opened another line of business – aquascaping. So now he’s doing acoustics and maintaining fish tanks and fish ponds.

Then there are more spin-offs. From his core business, he ventured into furniture making. Well, he thought about it when he was creating wood panels as part of his acoustics installation. Looking at the tools and equipment he has, he now thought of making tables and other furniture to maximize his capital investment, or so he says.

You think he’d stop there? Highly creative and a risk-taker, he now also makes enclosures for exotic pets. Yes, this is a spin-off from his aquascaping business with a blend of his furniture making business as his enclosures are made of wood.

An engineer by profession, he also explored more of his ability on electronics. He opened yet another line of business where he uses robotics as part of his acoustic and sound system installation in cars.

On top of all of these, he also maintains a blog and is an administrator of an online community of builders and makers where he updates them of his projects, promotions and offerings of suppliers and others.

Each line of business has a niche market and are lucrative. What could possibly go wrong, you might ask.

What’s Wrong With Being Very Active In Business?

Of course, the more business you have, the more potential income you can generate. That is, if you can manage and sustain your business operations efficiently and effectively. In this businessman’s case, he’s actively marketing all of his businesses in his blog, social media and through community forums.

The demands are everywhere so he dips his fingers onto each one of them. But ends up slow in his project turnaround. He doesn’t want to hire too many people so he just has two hired hands to assist him. He trained them on every line of business he has. He created more jacks-of-all-trade and he ended up a master-of-none.

He lost focus and the quality of his work was the most compromised. He was just all over the place. The potential to generate more income was maximized, or worse, was not realized.

Shiny Object Syndrome in a Nutshell

Based on the case presented above, you may now have even just a slight understanding of what Shiny Object Syndrome is.  Just think of a child playing with a certain toy but was distracted by another toy in the corner – a shiny object.

In a nutshell, you would know if you are suffering from the Shiny Object Syndrome if:

    1. There’s never one approach for you when you do a certain thing.  You can do one thing using a certain approach. Then the next, you do the same thing but this time with a different approach.
    2. You lose focus.  This will very much likely to happen if you have so much to do but your time is limited.  You want everything to be delivered on time so you try to do all of them all at once. And what if your businesses are not related to each other?  Each has unique demands and if you channel your effort on one of them, you might not be able to put in what is required on another.
    3. You have plenty of uncompleted projects.  This is the result of when you lose your focus.  Your aggressive trait will always make you want to keep on starting new projects and implementing new ideas instead of exerting more of your effort in growing your core business.

      How Then to Resist Shiny Object Syndrome

      For you not to easily get attracted to shiny objects, we gathered a list of what you can do to resist it:

      1. Establish your business goals in the short-term and in the long-term

      Goal setting is a vital element to retain your focus on those things that need to be done.

      2. Do more research on a potential business before starting

      Study on the business’ feasibility and sustainability.  If they turn out to be less feasible than you visualize it to be, then best not to pursue.

      3. Consult your team and mentors

      As they say, no man is an island.  It would still be best to gather inputs from your team if they can still support you if you take in more and from your mentors so they can advise you of the proper things to do.

      4. Control your impulse to start another

      It will not be the end of the world if you cannot start working on a new project the moment that idea came into your mind.  Think thoroughly about it, do the first three above to try to resist that urge.

      5. Streamline your ideas

      We know you have a lot and that comes from your being a highly-creative individual.  Weigh the pros and cons of a certain idea and if the cons outweigh the pros, drop them from your to do list.

      What to Consider

      When a shiny object is trying to present itself to you, don’t outright reject the idea.  It might just be the thing your business needs. But, before considering it part of your plan, you should ask yourself the following questions:

      1.  Is this value-adding to my business and its service to the customers?
      2. What is important to my customers and other stakeholders?
      3. Are you fully-equipped to take on this new idea?
      4. Will this demand so much of my time and effort that will limit me to give the same to my other businesses?

      The above are just some that you can ask yourself if confronted with a possible shiny object that will distract you from pursuing your goal of growing your core businesses.

      Don’t Beat Yourself Up

      If you feel that you are suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome, don’t be so hard on yourself. It happens. It happens all the time. If it is happening to you, it just validates that you are overflowing with creativity – you need that in growing your business.

      Do you have your own Shiny Object Syndrome experiences? We would love for you to share them with us so we can learn. You can share your experiences in the comments below.

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