The Dangers of Shiny Object Syndrome as an Entrepreneur

Cass Polzin
Feb 9 · 3 min read

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get excited about all the opportunities in front of you. If you have a hard time finishing a project because you’re constantly distracted by new ideas, you may suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS).

What is Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny Object Syndrome is a term used to describe a phase entrepreneurs and business owners go through, where they are easily distracted by the next big idea. Typically, these individuals struggle to finish the projects they start, often abandoning progress in favor of a new idea.

This is often common in first-time entrepreneurs. Especially after spending time in a desk job, working for someone else, it can be exciting to finally have so many opportunities and different things to work on. It can be tempting to only focus on the “fun” aspects of entrepreneurship, but this can be detrimental for your business in the long run.

Why is Shiny Object Syndrome dangerous for entrepreneurs?

When you change directions every time you have a new idea, you never make substantial progress on anything. As a result, work is completed inefficiently and haphazardly.

Jumping from one idea to the next is oftentimes wasteful and costly. When you abandon your progress in favor of starting over, you sacrifice all the time, effort, and materials you’ve already invested.

When can Shiny Object Syndrome be beneficial?

As an entrepreneur, your creativity is your greatest asset. 2020 taught all business owners the importance and necessity of agility. Regularly entertaining the new ideas that pop up can keep you creative and innovative.

If you’re always doing the same thing, it can be easy to get in a creative rut. Sometimes exploring other ideas and alternative avenues can help you improve the project you’re working on.

In fact, Shiny Object Syndrome can be enormously powerful for an organization with a solid team to act on and support the growth of these ideas. The key is having the bandwidth to support exploration and experimentation, without sacrificing business operations.

How can entrepreneurs effectively navigate Shiny Object Syndrome?

Letting yourself brainstorm and get excited about new ideas is a great way to stay creative. It’s important to ensure that while you allow yourself to think creatively, you don’t need to see every idea through to completion. It can be helpful to schedule time for yourself to explore your ideas. It might seem ironic to block off creative time on your calendar, but by doing so, you’ll guarantee you have the opportunity to explore something new.

For most people, creativity comes in unpredictable spurts. If you have the flexibility to shift around your schedule, that’s great. (As long as your priority tasks still get completed) But, what about when you’re feeling creative, but aren’t able to completely explore an idea?

Throughout the week, use a tool like Evernote or voice memos on your phone to keep track of the ideas that popped into your head. Then, you can use your blocked off time to explore those ideas, without letting them spill over into your other projects. If you find yourself focusing on a specific idea in your creative sessions for a few months and you’re seeing success, that means it might be worth exploring further. If you find yourself growing bored after just a day, you know it’s not worth investing more time in.

When you hit a wall or a creative rut, it will be helpful to have your list of ideas to revisit. Even if you don’t move forward with an old idea, you may spark a new one.

How can entrepreneurs be successful in 2021?

The most successful entrepreneurs in 2021 are setting their goals now and developing a plan to accomplish them. These plans aren’t set in stone and entrepreneurs will need to remain agile to ensure the best chance for success.

Echo Me Forward

Our mission to connect diverse professionals to equitable workplaces.

Cass Polzin

Written by

Gen Z Marketer Passionate About Communities

Echo Me Forward

Echo Me Forward is a platform that connects diverse talent to equitable workplaces in tech and startups. Our Medium page covers topics from entrepreneurship, diversity in tech, hiring at startups, and more!

Cass Polzin

Written by

Gen Z Marketer Passionate About Communities

Echo Me Forward

Echo Me Forward is a platform that connects diverse talent to equitable workplaces in tech and startups. Our Medium page covers topics from entrepreneurship, diversity in tech, hiring at startups, and more!

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