I’m currently sporting a pretty nasty gash over my right eye.
I was accidentally head-butted in the face during a jiu jitsu tournament over the weekend. To literally add insult to injury I also lost my fight (and $500 in the casualty ward of a private hospital).
But I did learn something from the experience – apart from the fact that my wife isn’t impressed when I come home with stitches in my face.
I learnt the value of competition.
You see, I’m something of a grappling addict. I train more times per week than I want to publicly admit to.
I train hard. I think about my training and am constantly trying to improve.
Yet I learnt more about where my skills are really at in five minutes on Saturday under the cruel glare of competition than I have learnt over months of training in class.
Going up against someone I have never met before who wanted to beat me exposed my holes and handed me a smorgasbord of things I need to work on before my next competition.
He didn’t go easy on me. He clearly didn’t care if he hurt me. He wasn’t giving me a chance to work my skills. He wanted to beat me pure and simple. And it taught me a lot.
It’s exactly the same with a start-up. You need to hit the competition with your business as quickly and as often as possible.
I see all the planning and preparation entrepreneurs undertake as being the same as me training in mu judo or jiu jitsu academy. It’s critical. It’s where you learn and have time to work on things in relatively safety.
But it’s all for nothing if everything falls apart in the real world against serious competition.
So, by all means, plan and think and strategize in the safety of your office or kitchen. But get your idea out there and in the real world sooner rather than later.
It will teach you more in five minutes than you can possibly learn over months of working in the safety of theory.
Now, how do I defend that arm-bar…
Jason Rose is a director of web-based media buying platform adboss.com.au and a consultant at the financial services company Concept Financial Services Group.
He blogs about the lessons he has learnt and continues to learn in the world of the start-up.