There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
Read the full speech from David Wallace here.
In my opinion, you have to know where you’ve been, where you are and where you are going in order to get ahead. At times, your biggest mistakes include overlooking the obvious. The fish lives in water so they overlooked their basic and vital requirement.
Before you embark into a new journey, you should research the idea, know your strengths and weakness, know your available resources, what are the chances of success, what must be your steps to achieve your goals. Is the business right for the area? Is it falling into step with the current economy? are some of the preliminary questions that go along with the planning process.
First, start with where you have been. What do you posses right now or what have you done in the past that you can use as a tool to get ahead? For example, what is your learning style? Knowing who you are will help you prepare a study schedule. Are you always on time? I am not so I have learned to give myself a 30 minute window. I would say, I’ll meet you 715 or 730pm while I am planning to get there by 7pm. I build it in delays and detours.
Here is another example: you owned a bakery for years and you decide to expand it into a full catering service. Are you able to attract customers to support you in your new venture? They can recommend your services to friends and family. They can suggest you for work related special events. What contacts or connections have you made that can help you move forward?
Now, take a look at your current status. Do you have the education and the skills to build a successful business? Do you have capital? Do you have or need a partner? Should you take a few courses or complete an apprenticeship? Do you have the right tools: accounting, staffing, advertising, vendors, etc. Is this the right location? Are you in the right market? Are you accessible and available to customers? Are you able to design or hire someone to design a professional website?
The planning portion takes the most time for a successful venture. It took me 2-3 months just to pick character names and write a satisfying outline. It is a project of love: I wanted to give it the best that I have. Share your ideas with friends and family and consider their feedback, talk to customers, talk to your competitors if you can. They may not share all their trade secrets but they may share general ideas that they figure you probably know already anyway -which you may not know yet.
By now, you know what you want, you have done your homework and you made your plan. It is time to test it out. Start with small and obtainable goals. They should be challenging but they should obtainable to avoid discouragements. Celebrate the small steps. Last, don’t forget who you are and why you started on this journey to begin with. Do you know what is your water?
Let me ask you: Any major plans that you have in mind?
UPDATE: Motivation Sunday continues. You can read the following posts: Starting with a Good Idea, the importance of a Positive Attitude, Creating the Right Plan, Overcoming Obstacles and Going Beyond Failures.
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