Take Action

Many of us struggle getting started on that daunting new task, new business opportunity, loosing weight, or exercising.  Over the years, too many of us say we’ll  start that tomorrow, or next week, or when I have more free time, or business slows down, or whatever other reason (excuse) we can come up with. The reality is we just need to start taking action.

A couple of years ago I read Charles Keifer and Leonard Schlesinger’s book Action Trumps Everything.   Here’s a quote from an article on the Business Innovation Factory’s website – With so many people today paralyzed in the face of large-scale problems and high degrees of uncertainty Schlesinger says the imperative for the entrepreneur is to just plain do: Start with the means, not the ends; define affordable loss; network like crazy (with people you like); and leverage contingencies. “There’s a whole way of thinking about the world that doesn’t include fantasizing about an 85-page business plan and 12-year forecast spreadsheet.”

I help business owners create business plans and forecasts. In many cases the owner is trying to get resources for their idea, business or prepare the business for sale. Raising money for an unproven venture or to fund a business that’s been losing money is difficult at best. However, many times the owner would be better off just getting started on the new idea by taking baby steps, investing small and adjusting the course based upon what’s been learned. Success with a small step can lead to much larger leaps including getting financing for the project. As stated in Action Trumps Everything –  Act. Learn. Repeat. It’s all about taking the real step of faith to get started.

This week, I ran across another book, The Do! Manifesto by Kevin Kelly (click to see a summary). Here’s a quote from Kelly, “What matters isn’t what you lack. What matters isn’t your idea. What matters is what you do with your idea. What will you do?”

It’s really pretty simple – it’s all about executing the plan. So, once you’ve created a business plan, strategic plan or just have an idea, get going on executing it to the best of your abilities. Most of us don’t know everything and that includes me, but I know a lot of very smart people who are great in areas that I’m not.  So reach out and network as much as you can. Build relationships with people and offer them what skills you have.  Get going taking some steps on your idea, learn from it, adjust the course and take some new steps. Don’t bet all you have up front. Too many businesses or owners take a huge gamble by investing all they have, or what’s been given them. Or, even in the face of huge losses think that this year will be different. Sometimes you just need to throw in the towel. Try to take measured steps to see if the market will really accept your idea. Then go all in once you’re confident the idea will work. Act, Learn, Repeat. Or in other words, Ready, Fire, Aim.

And while this is simple, most of us won’t take that step without some encouragement and accountability. Find a coach or adviser who can help vet your idea, not hold you back, and hold you accountable for the execution. I know that has helped me in my practice.

I hope this has gotten you motivated to get started. Decide this year that you are going Take Action.

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