Seth Godin in his book Linchpin talks about shipping a product. In his case it’s not the physical act of shipping but the metaphoric act of pushing the button to finish a product. In his book he talks about how many of us have failed to be successful because we just couldn’t ship the item because we thought it wasn’t ready. That’s the death nell to most businesses and if you are guilty of failure to ship you could be sabotaging your chances of success daily.
Baking cookies, again with the metaphor of whatever you do for enjoyment or soul refreshing, depends on finalizing a product. In the military we have two rules that we mostly adhere to. One is the 95% rule. That states that if the mission is 95% accomplished and to get to 100% you would lose more lives then the mission is considered done. The other is a student rule that states eight oh and go. That means an 80 is all you need to pass the course, the program, or the exam. I have had many programs as an officer and all the students could tell you daily how many points they had since each course was based on 1000 points and the moment you hit 800 you checked your brain at the door and cruised the rest of the way. The military understands that, though, and the final exam is usually worth 250 or 300 points forcing the students to pay attention to the very end.
The two unofficial rules and failure to ship are connected. We all want to be perfect, even if we know we can’t. When we work for ourselves we want the best product possible since it has our name on it. That is where we need to rethink our priorities. Yes it’s essential to provide the very best product you can but to keep tweeking and twisting and testing the item until someone else beats us to it is ludicrous; and quite dangerous to our bottom line. Learn to ship and you will be happier with your business and your customers will be happier with you since they will have your product instead of waiting forever.
The final comment is this: Do the best you can. Never accept mediocrity. If you would accept the product then it’s finished. Ship the damn item.