I’ll break it to you right up front, this isn’t a lesson on dancing like Michael Jackson.
Not too many years ago, the thought of a human being walking on the moon was little more than a dream. The task seemed impossible. Human flight was less than a century old, and well, no one had a clue what would happen if and when people got anywhere near the moon.
It’s easy to let the vision for our business seem as out of reach as walking on the moon.
We sometimes just see the big goal of financial freedom, or having big house and working 10 hours a week, or whatever yours might be, and don’t think much about what it takes to get there.
The reality is, that with the right approach, you can accomplish nearly anything. I dare say that a motivated 6th grader could have completed the moon landing mission instead of NASA.
Say what!? A 6th Grader Moonwalking?
Let me show you in a real simple way what I’m talking about:
Our 6th grader, back before space flight, wants to walk on the moon… so she sits down and begins to think about what it might take to get there. She decides she needs knowledge of the moons surface, some kind of vehicle, probably a lot of money, and most likely a few friends to help figure out how to pull it all together and make it work. A great start!
So… she goes and talks to some astronomers about space, recruits her mother and aunt to run a bake sale to raise money, and begins making some cardboard models of what she thinks a possible spacecraft might look like.
As her knowledge on the subjects increase, she starts to understand that there are many, many things she doesn’t know, and that her initial ideas just won’t work. Is it all a loss? should she give up? No way! It’s time to apply what she learned to learn yet more…
The bake sale was a great success, and there were many customers that took a personal interest in the young girls mission to the moon. Among them, a scientist that specializes in physics, a state senator, a few parents in specialized fields, and a dozen classmates that have pledged to enlist all the help they can get.
The scientist agrees to help map out a process for areas of further study, the senator agrees to look into state funding for the ambitious project, and one of the mothers acts as a coordinator to figure out who is doing what.
As you can probably see from this little example, just a spark can lead to activity, which brings knowledge, which all begins a cycle of growth and progress toward the goal… and it should be the same way in our businesses.
When we start out, it’s quite possible that we don’t have a clue how to reach the end goal, but as we define the goal clearly, and determine what needs to be done to get there, more information will open up to us that will help us on our way.
So, walking on the moon wasn’t about just getting up one day and being there. It took lots of work, thinking and planning.
You can apply this to your business goals with the following 3 steps:
This is the part where you sit down and try to figure out just exactly what you THINK you need to do to reach your goals. Make a list of as many details as you can. Try to imagine all the parts of your business that need to be there to make it work.
For example, maybe you want to make a million per year making sock monkeys:
You can GUESS that you can sell a monkey for $10 on Ebay. You can GUESS that your profit will be $2 per monkey. A little math tells you that you must sell around 500,000 monkeys per year to reach your goal
500,000 sock monkeys is a lot! You ASSUME you will have to have employees, which means payroll, which means an accountant. Oh, and facilities to make monkeys, and employees (or a machine that can make them, ship them, etc, etc…)
That’s a lot of overhead though… maybe you won’t make as much profit as you thought. Hmmmm, what now?
This is the part where you sift through and figure out what needs to be done first, right? Do you need to build a warehouse first? Maybe hire a truck driver? Of course not.
Probably the first thing to do is test your assumptions.
Can you really make $2 profit per monkey? Is there a market for 500,000 sock monkeys per year? If you can’t answer these kinds of questions, there is no point in doing anything else yet.
This is where you hone your business processes to make them as smooth and profitable as possible.
You identify as many distinct steps as possible involved in producing, marketing and delivering a monkey to the customer. Every step of the way you ask, “How can I make this more efficient, more profitable, and serve the customer better?”.
The systemizing will lead you to things like finding out that you can sell a sock monkey with a “birth certificate” on Ebay for $49.95, drop shipped from an existing toy factory, giving you a profit of $32 per monkey (Totally made up numbers here). Now you only have to sell 85 monkeys a day on Ebay to reach your goal of a million dollars a year.
Hmmmm, no warehouse needed, no shipping department, probably just a couple employees needed. Systemizing will reveal opportunities and weaknesses, which will cause you to go back to the quantizing stage and maybe determine that you need another distribution channel because you are only selling 30 a day on Ebay right now. What would it take to get them into Toy’s R Us? How about a custom hand made line of monkeys at a much higher price point?
You CAN walk on the moon, if you really want to…
It isn’t impossible for YOU to walk on the moon. Seriously. I guarantee a private citizen that wants to go walk on the moon bad enough, can make it happen.
If you want a million dollar business, or a paid for house, or just $200 extra in income each month bad enough, you can make it happen.
- Write down, what you think it will take.
- Decide what should be done first.
- Do what you think you should.
- Change course as needed until you get there.