Today was Groundhog Day – not the movie – but the day that the Pennsylvania Germans celebrate as foretelling the winter weather season, that is also known as Imbolc in the Gaelic tradition and Candlemas as a celebration of Jesus in Catholicism.In every observance of this special day, February 2, is the celebration of the budding of something new, something recently created and that was previously quietly germinating.
The question the groundhog is supposed to answer: is the budding (spring) now? Or in 6 weeks? If the groundhog is frightened by the sun shining, the budding is later. Otherwise, the time is now.
I find this a great time to ask myself: is there something about my business that I might shrink from learning about in the cold, clear sunshine of day – the public light shining on my business. Am I delaying that moment so that I can ‘get ready’ for it, just in case it’s too bright? In case it hurts me? Or shows something I’m not ready to see?
What about you? Are there aspects of your product or service that you don’t really want to have revealed in the full light of the sun? In the harsh field of public opinion? Maybe that shows up for you as just a little bit of delay, or not quite getting something complete, or ‘it’s just not the right time’ or maybe even ‘they don’t really get it’.
The hardest part of this problem is recognition. That’s certainly true for me. I want to tell myself that the budding needs a little more protective, private time. My product isn’t quite ready for the unveiling, or public consumption. I still need to usher it through a little longer. And maybe that’s true. But maybe it’s not.
The sooner we’re public with our product or service, the sooner we’ll learn whether it speaks to people or not. It’s a game, and letting it out into the light is another way to move forward. If the reception is too cold and the buds will die, then you can take it back in. But if not, then you can start growing your business or your new product line or your new market segment rather than being in the process of creating it.
- Identify something you’re afraid of getting public feedback on in your business.
- List what you MOST don’t want to hear: what features? Or the way you’ve presented it? Or maybe your website? Or the packaging?
- Why are you MOST concerned with those aspects? Be honest.
- What is the worst that would happen if you got some negative feedback on any of those things?
- Would any of that irreversibly and negatively affect the long-term health of your business? If so, then you can probably be confident in holding off just a little longer.
- What positive difference might it make for your business if you got feedback on something completely unexpected? And early enough to respond to.
- If not now, then when? Be specific.