One of the first things I learned as a new programmer was the technique known as “teddy bear programming”. A story about this is in the book The Practice of Programming, and goes something like this: a university help desk center kept a teddy bear, and before students were allowed to bring their problem to a human, they had to first explain it out loud to a teddy bear. The idea is that by the time they finished telling the bear, over half of them had solved their own problem.
But the technique is also known as rubberducking, because it doesn’t matter much what you’re talking to.
It’s the talking that matters. Explaining your problem out loud is often enough to shake things loose in your brain, expose bad assumptions, and cause you to see things in a new way.
When I coach small business owners, part of the reason they invest in me is to piggyback on my experience and knowledge. (Cheaper to buy it than spend years of trial and error developing it.) But another big benefit is simply having a set time each month where they focus on specific problems or goals and talk them out. A rubber duck isn’t nearly as good as someone who thoroughly understands small business marketing, but it IS better than doing nothing or ONLY thinking about things. Motion generates results faster than thought.