If you are an entrepreneur, or aspiring to be one, you probably spend a huge amount of time dreaming about your big idea. And it makes sense! You have a vision of how you can impact the world. You want to build a better future by solving a huge problem, and the dream of how you can do that consumes you.
Here’s the thing, though: as important as it is to have that dream, dreaming on its own is not enough. As I always say, an idea is just an idea until it’s materialized.
If you want to find entrepreneurial success, you need to go a step further. You need to have good preparation and then do it. Without those last two steps, your idea will stay just that: an idea that will never see the light of day.
Below, I’ve created a quick insight from my latest book, on how you can create breakthrough businesses that change the world.
The first step in materializing your dream is to have good preparation. Start by defining your Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG), then work backwards to define your near-term achievable goals. In other words, ask yourself what you need to do in the next three months, the next six months, and the next year to get closer to your big goals.
When you first start, this can be as simple as putting big milestones down on a sheet of paper. You can also create a mind map. The idea is to get a clear idea of the specific things you need to do to achieve the outcomes you want.
Let me give you a simple example. Pretend that, in five years, you want to generate $10 million in revenue. Work backwards from there. If you determine that in the first year you need to get to $100,000, then figure out what your sales cycle is and how much your average customer spends. From that information, you can determine how many prospects you need to contact each week and each month to get to $100,000 by the end of the first year. By doing this, you ensure that you stay on target to hit your 5-year goal. You may find a further explanation and example here.
You can break any big goal down into smaller increments like this. If you want to be somewhere in five years (like in our example), then figure out where you need to be at the end of each year leading up to it. Then, break each year down into quarters, then months, then weeks. Finally, track your metrics so you know if you’re on target or need to pivot. Metrics are custom-made to each company, while some companies track them with spreadsheets or an ERP system, there are also specialized apps like Plecto.
Once you have done good preparation, it’s time to put it into action. This part can be hard for many entrepreneurs. I see many people brainstorming a lot, but they never put their thinking into action. They become paralyzed by the fear of failure. At some point, though, if you want to succeed, you must move ahead and take your chances.
Of course, you can be smart about it and take steps to mitigate the risk of failing. Perhaps you find someone to help you, whether that’s an advisor, a co-founder, or some other support. Often, having someone else to support you—to bounce ideas off of and shoulder some of the responsibility and risk—can make all the difference.
As you start to do it, keep in mind that you will need to continually adapt and stay resilient to overcome any challenges that you encounter. You must also actively work to avoid becoming complacent. Look for excellence in everything you do, because how you execute your plan is often the difference between success and failure.
It’s not enough to come close to perfection. While you don’t want to paralyze yourself by being a perfectionist, you also need to continually seek out the things that are causing problems, or just aren’t up to par. When you’re launching your big breakthrough venture, constantly seek to minimize any problems. Make sure you, your people, your processes, and your product are as great as they can possibly be.
Make the Impact You’re Capable Of
Turning your entrepreneurial vision into reality isn’t easy. Often, especially with a revolutionary, radical, big idea, it can be hard to convince people of its value. It’s tough to find the resources you need and to keep pressing forward in the face of naysayers and obstacles.
That’s why it’s so important to not only have a dream, but to have good preparation, which you can have by building with the Exponential Framework. It will help you to communicate clearly your vision to potential investors, mentors, advisors, and co-founders understand your vision and get them excited about it. You will motivate people… and to find the success you dream of, you will need very motivated people around you.
Once you decide to do it, you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. As you do, keep coming back to your dream, because it will help you get through the tough times. And, keep returning to your preparation work. If you need to revise something, do so. There are always multiple ways to achieve your dreams, so adapt and pivot if necessary.
At the end of the day, achieving your dreams takes all three of these things. It requires big dreams, preparation, and doing it. If you can do all of that, though, you’ll be able to impact the world in the way you’ve always dreamed of—and in the way that I know you are more than capable of.
Featured image via Jake Hills on Unsplash.