Why only thinking big is a mistake for startups

by Ana Lopez

Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer at Set Schedule. Resident tech guru.

I’ve learned that the most powerful move you can make for your startup is to think small. In my experience, thinking small is exactly what separates the entrepreneurs from the ones that don’t make it.

Because when we think about starting a business, most of us think about growth and expansion – and those things are important! But what if we took a step back and looked at it from a different angle? What if we thought about all the little ways we can grow our businesses without exceeding our capabilities? That would be just as valuable, wouldn’t it?

Small stakes may be small, but they lead to big change.

That is exactly what Peter Sims argues in his book Small Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Come From Small Discoveries. Sims argues that by starting with smaller ideas and building on them, we can come up with more innovative and game-changing breakthroughs than ever before.

If you’re a leader or manager, you probably have a huge list of things you want to accomplish. You want your team to hit the numbers. You want innovation. You want to keep your customers happy and engaged, and so on.

The problem with this approach is that it can lead to analysis paralysis. You have so many things on your plate that you don’t know where to start – or even if it’s worth starting. The bigger the goal, the more likely you are to encounter resistance from other people, from your own fears, or from circumstances beyond your control.

So how do you overcome this resistance? How do you make your dreams and goals come true?

You start small. Instead of tackling everything at once, consider working on one thing at a time – and then doing it really well. This strategy can help you create more impact with less effort.

Small bets are all about overcoming resistance by making small changes that get you closer and closer to your goal, without expending enormous effort or risking failure along the way. These bets are low-risk ways to test new ways of thinking or behaving that can lead to big results later on.

By thinking small, you can develop discipline.

Thinking small is a mindset. It’s a discipline. It’s a way of looking at the world that allows you to create the most impact with your work, your business and your life.

Thinking big is what many people do. They dream big goals, they set big goals, and they make big plans to achieve those goals. And then they do nothing about it. I’ve found that great thinkers never make any sense of it, because they’re so distracted by all the possibilities that they never actually take action.

Thinking small is different from thinking big in one important way: it requires you to think about the smallest steps you can take to move forward with your goal or project. You don’t worry about how long it will take or how much effort it will take – you just start somewhere and keep moving forward one step at a time until you reach your destination.

Discipline is key to achieving goals.

It’s what separates the winners from the losers, and it puts you in control of your life. If you want to achieve something, you have to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Discipline keeps you focused on the path that leads to success.

The modern world is full of distractions. We are constantly bombarded by social media and emails, texts and notifications. These distractions can take away our ability to break down our goals into achievable steps that move us closer to our end result each day.

And that’s where Shaolin Master Shi Heng Yi comes in with his TedTalk about self discovery and how important it is to take small steps towards your goal, even if it seems impossible at first. And every step you take toward your goal, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, is part of the journey itself. His reading reminds me that while we may feel overwhelmed by the distractions in our world today, there are still simple ways to find peace and quiet – and then use those moments to make positive changes in our lives!

Start small.

The next time you’re in the middle of a project and can’t quite find that eureka moment, go small. Get your hands dirty with the detailed details of whatever you’re working on, and make incremental changes that will eventually lead to something revolutionary. It’s a simple philosophy, but one that’s easily forgotten when we’re too busy thinking big.

The point is that it is crucial to have goals and the discipline to achieve them. You must take action. All the money in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t put in the work to do what you want.


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