Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Your Business Idea...Dream or Reality?

I've begun reading an excellent book by John C. Maxwell: Put Your Dream to the Test.

Read this description (from his website:): "What's the difference between a dreamer and someone who achieves a dream? According to best-selling author Dr. John Maxwell, the answer lies in answering ten powerful, yet straightforward, questions. Whether you've lost sight of an old dream or you are searching for a new one within you, Put Your Dream to the Test provides a step-by-step action plan that you can start using today to see, own, and reach your dream. Dr. Maxwell draws on his forty years of mentoring experience to expertly guide you through the ten questions required of every successful dreamer.

In Put Your Dream to the Test, Dr. John Maxwell asks you ten powerful questions to determine how your dream can become reality. Now, in My Dream Map, he helps you create a detailed plan with interactive exercises and opportunities for personal exploration that will challenge, inspire, and direct you. This companion to Put Your Dream to the Test will help you uncover, perhaps for the first time, specific steps you can take to stop merely thinking about your dream and start living it."

It seems as though I've been dreaming about Business On A Mission, www.BusinessOnAMission.com most of my working life. It's only been the last few years that I've put contemplative time into imagining what I really want to accomplish with it (the result of my life taking a dramatic turn away from what I had been doing for over 30 years).

After reading about Mike Hyatt (President and CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc.) in Put Your Dream To The Test, and the way he approached turning the trade book division of Thomas Nelson from the least profitable to the most profitable in only a few years, I realized that I was on track. Sometimes when I shared my dream about Business On A Mission with others they would respond with "What's your strategy for success?" I didn't have one. I couldn't even go there. And what I realized after reading this section is that my vision is most important and I am still formulating it.

When I have the vision for Business On A Mission crystal clear (I’m getting there!), the strategy will surface. Mike Hyatt learned that when people think about the how too soon, they hurt their potential (pg. 25). The first step for Mike was to go on a weekend retreat to develop his vision for the division. According to Mike...if you don't have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.

He came back from that retreat with a crystal clear and laid out for success vision. It was highly specific. When people began asking him how he was going to accomplish his vision his response was, “I’m not sure, but I am confident it is going to happen. Just Watch.” (pg 28).

As he kept focused on the vision, the strategy began to emerge. That gave me encouragement. I am often asked, “What is your strategy? How are you going to make money?” At first, this made me very uncomfortable because I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this, maybe this idea can’t fly, etc. etc.” It was with the encouragement of a few people (who thought the idea was GREAT) that I kept moving forward with it.

I am a planner, a doer. I like results. This whole process has taken me out of my comfort zone. I’ve needed to take it a step at a time…I believe that small business can be a powerful force to change the world for the better. That business doesn’t have to only be about making a profit (but certainly that is a reality).

So I’m still refining my vision and my first strategy is to locate other small socially responsive businesses, learn from them, and then highlight them in a book and on my website.

One step at a time….

For all of you who are still formulating your business idea, get it and read it. For those of you struggling with business success, get it and read it. Maybe you just need to re-think what you are doing and possibly change course.

Written and contributed by Patti Grunkemeier of www.BusinessOnAMission.com - *

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