Success Tip: Taking the First Step

If you are like most entrepreneurs, you have BIG plans.  The success journey can be a long one and you are eager to take that first step.  The question is…which one should it be?  Like a toddler who is taking those first tentative steps, some will be met with words of encouragement and applause and others many have you landing on your backside with a thud.  Either way, if you don’t pull yourself up and step forward, you will never get anywhere.

'We're going to be taking baby steps for a while, so I've taken the liberty of ordering booties for all of us.' - An Andertoons Cartoon
Andertoons Office Cartoons

Taking those first steps can be scary.

No one wants to land with a thud.  As entrepreneurs there are things we can do to baby-proof our business process so that our steps are sure and even if we stumble that the landing is not too hard.

Set your sights on a reachable goal.

One of the most common mistakes we often make as entrepreneurs is to set long term vision or goals instead of focusing on achievable short term objectives.   Having a long term vision is great, but most successful businesses look different over time as they grow and evolve.  If you set your sights too far in the distance, it’s easy to fall short.  When this happens you, your team, and your investors can get discouraged and may eventually give up.

Setting achievable short term goals that build upon each other allows for a higher probability of success.  With each win, you encourage your team to reach for a more aggressive goal the next time and the next time and the next.

“Why” first.  “What” second.

The second secret to safeguarding your first steps is to understand the “why” before you get all wrapped up in a never ending series if “what” and “how.”  Too often we jump right in by recruiting partners, lining up suppliers or designing systems BEFORE we have clear agreement on the reasons behind these steps.  Take the time in the beginning to truly understand WHY you want to achieve WHAT you want to achieve and then communicate it to your team so that everyone has a shared direction and motivation.

Lay out your plan

Once you have those achievable objectives in sight and you and your team know  why you want to achieve them, you are ready to lay out your plan.  Map out what you want to do and how you want to do it. Identify the resources you need and your sources of supply.  Clearly define who will do what and when then get to it.

Grab a camera

Now you are ready to to start your business off on the right foot.   Be sure to grab your camera to capture those important first steps and gather the team to celebrate each success.  After all you don’t want to miss out on the excitement…

You’ll be up and running before you can say “baby booties” ten times fast.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Joan Koerber-Walker is a two time Stevie Award National Finalist and Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  She also serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures and on the boards of for profit and nonprofit organizations.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association she has worked with hundreds of small businesses and on behalf of thousands.  Chat with her on Twitter as @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and @CorePurpose or at her blog at www.JoanKoerber-Walker.com.

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