Three in five Americans dream of starting their own business. That means 61% of people are sitting at their desk or behind a counter, daydreaming about leaving behind the job they’re actually doing and finding the vocation that fills their cup. Of those dreamers, an incredible 92% of them never get started: most people never turn dreaming into doing.
Wantrepreneurs are often kept back by funding concerns or lack of technical know-how. Even more say they just don’t know how to begin. But how you start your business doesn’t matter. If you have a fire burning inside to build your own business and be your own boss (BYOB), you can do it. You just haven’t taken the leap — yet.
If you’re ready to stop saying “what if” and BYOB, it starts with a simple recipe: vision plus people plus systems.
Vision: The What
Start with a blank sheet of paper. By using the power of your vision and going into extreme detail, that blank piece of paper will become your Painted Picture – a crystal-clear snapshot of where you’ll be in the future.
Your mind works consciously and unconsciously 24/7 to bring into reality the things you see in your imagination. You are limited only by the clarity of your vision. It’s almost as if, at the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.
People typically think about goal setting in one of two ways: pie-in-the-sky hopes and dreams, and nuts-and-bolts strategic planning. According to more than 200 scientific studies, the best way to achieve real results is to use both using mental contrasting. By following up your blue-sky dream with actionable steps, you’ll have the inspiration and the game plan you need to reach your desired destination.
To create a Painted Picture, you’ll need to move yourself five years into the future. Ask yourself a few key questions: what things did I do five years ago that really paid off? Why were they the right things to do? What was it that almost kept me from doing those things? Once you answer these questions, you’ll know exactly what your future looks like. Then you can start building the team and strategy that will help get you there.
People: The Who
My startup junk-hauling business, The Rubbish Boys, was pulling in about a million dollars a year when I found myself haunted by the questions, “What would things be like if I got the right people? How different would my business be?”
I had created my Painted Picture of happy, uniformed employees in clean, shiny trucks becoming the FedEx of junk removal, but we plateaued. I realized I’d hired the wrong people and needed to start again if I wanted to turn my vision into reality. It broke my heart when I fired the whole company—all eleven people—in a single day.
Then I created “The Beer and BBQ Test.” It’s two simple (and delicious) steps to find people who truly fit our culture.
First I ask myself:
Do I find this person interesting?
Is this person genuinely interested in what we do?
Can I imagine myself having a beer with them?
The second part is about deciding if the person is a good addition to our team overall. If I threw that candidate into a group setting, like a company BBQ, would they find a way to connect? What do they bring to the group dynamic?
To encourage people to follow your vision, you need to help them see themselves in it. When you empower your people and value them for their contributions, your people will become more engaged in helping achieve your vision. Never underestimate the transformative power of human capital.
Systems: The How
Entrepreneurs rarely take the time to experiment, refine and systematize every process. But if your vision is your north star and your people are your crew, systems are the roadmap to get you where you want to go.
Your systems will depend on the type of business you’re building: are you starting from scratch or joining a franchise? The type of business you choose to build will also depend if you’re the type of entrepreneur who lives in the big-picture dreamscape or if you’re an executor who can get things done.
Think of it like this: the visionary creator of a new business is like the builder of a race car. Do you want to build a race car? Or do you want to drive a race car? Both paths can lead to great success, but winning the race is much more likely if your race car is already on the track.
Regardless of the path you choose, you cannot win without tested and refined systems. Create them or buy them, surround yourself with people who believe what you believe and feel what you feel and who embrace your contagious vision.