The young lady in my life skills class fought me on the idea but after she stood to give her story and I along with her peers critiqued that story, she understood the importance of writing her story down. The story didn't flow and as the story grew longer, one of her peers asked when was it going to end. Before her presentation she wasn't convinced. After the critique of her presentation, she was convinced that writing it down was a good idea.
This young lady's flailing and misguided storytelling attempt looks a lot like entrepreneurs who fail to write down their vision. Business owners who fail to write out their business plans, their dreams, their goals.
Being able to speak extemporaneously takes a lot of practice and you have to be a serious consumer of content.
Operating a business with no clear direction and written goals is very much like someone telling a bad story; I've yet to meet the entrepreneur who is able to successfully run their business extemporaneously.
A few years ago, I had so many ideas for my business swirling around in my head it almost made me dizzy.
One day I had to release all those thoughts and ideas. I needed to get them out of my head and onto paper.
I set up a meeting with myself, brought out my easel and big pad of paper and I began to write.
When one page got full, I ripped it off and hung it on the wall.
When I had finally emptied my head of all the crazy ideas I had for my business, I could see and think clearly.
I didn't have solutions or strategies on how to make any of those things happen but they needed to be written down. They needed to be visible.
Those big pieces of paper stayed on my wall for months.
I started to put action items next to some of the ideas and outsourced parts of the project.
Well, two years later one of my crazy ideas was realized. Well in part anyway. Let's call it a very good first step toward the really big thing I wrote down way back then. And who knows, this current format may work better than my original idea!
If I had never taken the time to write the vision down, it still might be swirling around in my head or worst yet, forgotten and only to be remembered when someone else executes the very idea I had once had.
You don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to know all the key players. You don't even have to have the money to make it happen but you do have to write it down.
First, set up strategy sessions with yourself
I made an appointment with myself and set it for when I knew I wouldn't be disturbed. I turned off my phone and the Facebook notification. I didn't want any distractions. You can conduct this session alone or invite someone you trust (trust is critical because you'll be putting out some great ideas).
Second, put it all out there
Write it all down. Ideas that seem totally off the wall, visions that seem way too big and way too grand. You'll definitely want to write those down. When you write them all down, you make room for more brilliant ideas.
Thirdly, address action items you can take
After you get it all down, list the action items necessary to complete. Ask yourself what you can do yourself and what can you outsource.
Lastly, put a date on it
Put dates by the action items and they don't have to be specific. You can simply state the quarter (Q3) and the year.
I can't recall how many of these kinds of sessions I've had but I am seeing things happen. I'm seeing growth in my business and it's pretty cool when dreams manifest.
I completed all of my action items from my very first strategy session. It wasn't the right time to implement but I was prepared. It was all tucked away and ready to launch in a heartbeat. When I saw an opportunity, I was able to take advantage of it and implement quickly because the work had already been done.
Because I took the time to write it all down.
Lisa N. Alexander, aka The Marketing Stylist™ is a small business owner who has her site on world domination! She's a speaker, author, podcast host and blogger. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaNAlexander.
photo credit: HaoJan via photopin cc