Get All Access for $5/mo

Stop Focusing on 'Right' and Start Building Your 'Right Now' Here are the ways to know when you should throw 'best practices' out the window and Just. Get. Started.

By Sujan Patel Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Shutterstock.com

The internet is full of business and marketing articles telling you exactly what you need to do to be successful.

I should know. I've written a lot of them.

Related: 4 Best Practices to Avoid Startup Failure

On the one hand, I'm happy to share everything I've learned throughout my career if that gives others a leg up in their own businesses. If I can shorten somebody else's learning curve by showing them the right way to do something, that's hugely satisfying to me.

But I also have to acknowledge that putting "the best way to do things" out into the world creates a pressure-filled situation for those who are new to the game. I get that it can be incredibly overwhelming to read tutorial after tutorial -- best practice after best practice -- and not know how to put it all together (let alone be able to afford all the different solutions people like me recommend).

So, here's an important distinction to make: "right" versus "right now." Knowing the difference, as well as how to act on this information, makes moving forward in your business much easier.

When I had to let go of "right"

When I launched my cold email sales tool Mailshake, I did so with a small team and a shoestring budget.

And it was frustrating. There I was, the former owner of a top digital marketing agency, who was unable to practice what he preached because the resources weren't available.

As an example, I could talk for hours about the importance of having an email list, how businesses could segment their subscribers and delivering customized messages tailored to the needs of each segment. But, at my own business, we couldn't afford software that could do that. So we sent a single mass newsletter to everyone.

And you know what? The world didn't end.

Related: Starting a Business? Here Are the Most and Least Profitable Industries.

That's how I came to let go of what was "right" and instead focus on what I could do "right now." Eventually, traffic picked up and our income increased. We were able to add in the strategies and tactics I wanted to; and we did so without compromising the vital early resources we would have, had we followed a template somebody else decided was "right" for us.

Where are You "right now"?

I know it's tempting to read article after article, assuming that the right answer is out there . . . somewhere.

But for right now, I want to challenge you to try something different. Take a step back from all the business and marketing advice being thrown about, and get in touch with where you really are right now. Ask yourself:

  • What percentage of your income can you reasonably spend on marketing tools and tactics?

  • Do you have the marketing expertise in-house to execute the strategies you want to, or would doing so require a) excessive time on your part; and/or b) excessive cost?

  • Why are you pursuing the strategies you're using (or thinking about using)? Is it because you have a unique competitive advantage to do so, or is it because somebody told you that you need to?

Be honest with yourself about where you are, versus where you think you should be. No matter how far apart the two are, there are steps you can take to maximize the impact of whatever stage you're currently in.

Do what you can with what you've got.

Another thing I wanted to do early on at my business was the kind of conversion raste optimization I'd run for larger companies back in my days starting up an earlier company, Single Grain. The only problem? We didn't have enough traffic to reach statistical significance.

Fortunately, that's not a big deal, according to Peep Laja of the company ConversionXL. "You might not be able to run tests," he wrote on his blog, "but you can still optimize. It's not entirely scientific, but, hey, most of us are in the business of making money, not in the business of science."

At my company, we did our best, and made educated guesses based on the trends we saw. And, evntually, we were able to add in the tests I wanted to run, but we didn't waste time or energy feeling guilty about what we couldn't do at first.

Look for opportunities for creativity.

The great thing about getting comfortable with where you really are in your business's growth is that it gives you the chance to tap a well of creativity you may not have known you had. My fellow Entrepreneur contributor Matthew Toren summed up this opportunity well, writing that, "Boot-strapping builds character.

"There are endless ways to finance your ideas," Toren continued, "but there's nothing like marketing a startup with a modest budget to encourage innovation. Limited funds give you an excuse to flex your creative muscle and truly share your vision with the world."

Related: Show Me the Money! Best Practices for Raising Capital for Your Startup.

The message here is that there's nothing wrong with working with limited resources "right now." Failing to acknowledge where you are and what's reasonable for your current status, on the other hand, puts you at risk of wasted time, unnecessary expenditures and -- ultimately -- business failure.

Are you doing what's "right" for your business, or what's right for "right now"? Leave me a note in the comments below sharing your ideas:

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Culture

Inflation's Next Victim Is Your Freedom — Here's Why

We get it… Most people are tired of hearing the same old story about how the American Dream is dead; however, there's a different, more bleak aspect to that reality that far too few people have yet to realize.

Business Solutions

Set Your PC-Using Employees Up with Windows 11 Pro for $25

This updated operating system features top-of-the-line security, AI support, and more.

Living

How Adopting a 'Miracle Mentality' Can Transform Your Life

On this episode of 'The Jeff Fenster Show,' Tim Storey shares his insights on the role of mentors, the importance of humility, and the keys to achieving success.

Growing a Business

Free Webinar | July 10: How to Get Your Products Sold in Stores

Join Ross MacKay, co-founder of Daring and founder of Cadence, as he shares his expertise on successfully getting your products onto store shelves. With experience in placing products in over 40,000 stores nationwide, Ross will provide actionable insights on creating a demand-driven brand from the start.

Business Solutions

Download Images in Bulk with This $30 Lifetime Subscription

This Imaget Bulk Image Downloader enables batch image downloading with 100-percent quality retention.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.