Opportunity Costs & Analysis Paralysis

We had a client some time ago that opened a new retail-related business. Their opening day was the 1st of the month, so their expenses–rent, employees, utilities, etc.– were accruing daily. It was a new business, so they were starting at the bottom regarding marketing. They did, however, have a great location on a busy street in the downtown area. But, after a month, they still had not decided on their signage. They had fallen victim to analysis paralysis and incurred significant opportunity costs because of the delay.

They asked us to do their signage. They had a logo, so this is typically a speedy process: logo+phone+website. Keep it simple. Keep it big. 

We’ve done hundreds of signs like this, so we know how to choose font, colors, and spacing to ensure a highly-visible sign. It usually takes two, or three at the most, proofs to get it right.

Well, it had seven revisions, many of which were changes to things they requested. For example, “make the black text red” and then “make the red text green” and then “make it black.” 

The shop was in business for over a month without a sign.

Most of the time, when we get to so many revisions, we have taken something from really good to sub-optimal. Yes, most of the time, excessive revisions have the opposite effect: the design looks worse.

The broader point is that the shop owner has wasted considerable time, expenses are piling up, and thousands of cars have gone by the shop without knowing the services offered. 

The opportunity costs due to analysis paralysis (over-thinking) have cost this business thousands of dollars in revenue and profits. And, though debatable, their final sign design was not as good as the first few.

At Kona Impact, we want what the clients want. That’s our goal and our responsibility to our clients. That said, we try to offer our experience in making thousands of signs over the past 17 years as the initial proof we send clients. If the project veers in a different direction, OK, we’re good with that, but from a business perspective, one should always consider what is lost when there is too much thinking at the expense of getting a project done and moving on to other aspects of the business.