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I recently had the opportunity to attend a virtual conference of Inc 5000, which hosted a variety of highly engaging speakers.  One particular session featured one of my longtime “sheros”, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.  

Anyone who knows anything about Ms. Sandberg is aware of her long list of professional accomplishments, along with her personal trials and tribulations. Her book Option B is one of my favorites.  I was not aware, however, of her commitment to supporting small businesses.  

As business owners ourselves, we at Standard For Success could relate to many of Ms. Sandberg’s comments during her session.  SFS began as a small privately owned business, founded by four educators who decided to take a risk and help meet the needs of other educators.  While she discussed how business owners had to adjust during the COVID pandemic, I reflected on our own adjustments, as well as those of our clients.  

Ms. Sandberg spoke of exercise studios moving to an online membership format that they are continuing as an option for clients, even though they have technically re-opened. We too, had to move trainings, meetings, conferences, and all other forms of interaction to an online format.  She talked of the Facebook Invoice Fast Track initiative to purchase outstanding invoices of small businesses owned by women and minorities so they could remain open while waiting for payment from other vendors/businesses.  SFS made every effort to support our partners and clients during this difficult time, including offering our completion tracking software free of charge to local higher education institutions faced with the task of creatively assessing and approving completion requirements of students.  

But the most impressive comment from her session was simply, “You can’t start until you start.”.  While this might sound too obvious, the message resonated with me.  She spoke of small business owners with little or no background in technology taking their messages to social media via Facebook live, stating that it doesn’t have to be perfect, just start!

Wait, it doesn’t have to be perfect?  As a perfectionist and my own toughest critic, this didn’t set well with me! But the message is simple, if we wait until things are perfect before we start, will we ever start?  If we wait until everyone is completely on board, will we begin that initiative?  If we wait until our rubrics are perfect, will we ever start employee or program evaluation?  Isn’t better to start, then revise as you grow and learn?  

Lots of thought-provoking questions, but I leave you with a few more…what can you start today? How much will you lose by waiting until everything is perfect to start? What is the penalty of posting a live media session that is less than perfect?

So go back to that “thing” you have been putting off until it is perfect, and START!

https://www.inc.com/inc5000

https://www.forbes.com/profile/sheryl-sandberg/?sh=778e16de58b6

https://www.facebook.com/business/small-business/grants

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/11/facebook-to-buy-100-million-of-invoices-from-diverse-owned-businesses.html

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