Most business owners that are aiming for success, change or growth will tell you that they’re working as quickly as possible to reach their goals. But in some cases, speed can be the antithesis to your future.
Case in point: Jack Dorsey, who is the CEO of both Twitter and Square, recently sat down with interviewers at TED2019, where he shared his views on the future of the company and discussed the overall communication atmosphere. One of Dorsey’s overarching points was that working quickly isn’t as important as prioritizing what needs to get done.
“We are working as quickly as we can, but quickness will not get the job done,” Dorsey said when asked about how Twitter is addressing negativity on the social network. “It's focus, it's prioritization, it's understanding the fundamentals of the network and building a framework that scales and that is resilient to change, and being open about where we are and being transparent about where are so that we can continue to earn trust."
This isn’t the first time that Dorsey has espoused a deep connection to prioritization. He has said in the past that he uses an iPhone in place of a computer or tablet because it allows him to focus on what he’s doing, with “no distraction whatsoever.”
Why It’s Smarter to Work Strategically
Although working quickly allows us to meet benchmarks faster, it’s not always the best route to success. Certainly, we should get things done as efficiently as possible, but startups and established businesses should also be strategic, and sometimes that requires taking the pace down a notch. Consider these advantages to slowing things down at your business:
1. It Allows Time to Perfect Your Product/Service. If you want to get your product or service to market as quickly as possible, you may not be giving yourself enough time to make it perfect. “Even if you’re the most qualified person in the world, it’ll take a long time to build the right thing,” writes Brian Scordato, founder of Tacklebox Accelerator. “The sand in your hourglass buys you the time to make mistakes.”
2. It Gives You A Chance to Know Your Target Market. Once you have your target product or service right, it’s time to get to know your target customers – and that means getting to really know them – their demographics, their preferences and their dislikes. “To be really successful, it is as important to understand market dynamics as it is to deliver a great product,” writes Martina Lauchengco of Costanoa Ventures.
3. It Allows You to Avoid Taking Funding Just So You Can Scale Faster. You shouldn’t take every offer of funding that comes your way, because some financial partners aren’t going to be a fit for your business. If you are trying to scale too quickly, you may take money from investors that don’t share your mindset or goals. “If you're at the invention stage, just remember that necessity is the mother of invention, not money,” writes Dave Bailey of London’s Downing Ventures.
What to Do When You Have to Speed Up
There are times when every business will have to work more quickly than its staffers would like – for instance, if you’ve promised a delivery on a certain date, or if you owe a report to investors. In these situations, don’t take speed into your own hands – instead, get help to meet your goals rather than pushing yourself to do everything quickly. For many small- and medium-sized businesses, this can mean outsourcing functions to contractors.
“By outsourcing the function to a partner instead of hiring full-time employees, you can move faster, learn more quickly and correct mistakes at an impressive speed,” writes Brent Freeman of Stealth Venture Labs. “Find partners with expertise in their fields and proven track records, who buy in to the company’s vision and culture,” he adds.