You Can’t Reap What You Don’t Sow

Every Friday, my daughter and I have our “Friday Family Movie Night” where we order pizza, pop some popcorn, and watch a new movie that we bought that week. Some of the movies that we have watched recently includes Wall-E, Aladdin, and Beauty & The Beast. The other week, we watched the movie The Lorax which is an adorable movie about greed and the environment. Towards the end of the movie, there was a song, “Let It Grow” which included this line:

You can’t reap what you don’t sow!

Normally, a random line from a song in a movie doesn’t usually catch my attention. However, I had a similar conversation earlier in the day that also had a similar subject.

Start Sowing

Over the years, I have met countless people looking to start or grow their businesses. Almost every person I’ve met has had a dream or goal of where they can see themselves. The issue is that a lot of these people spend so much time thinking about how they want things to be that they forget to actually start. The person I was speaking with earlier in the day before watching The Lorax was someone who had a great idea. The issue was that he was wasting a lot of time on thinking and not enough time on actually doing.

One of the biggest hurdles in accomplishing your dreams is actually starting. A recent study from Bentley University found that 66% of people wanted to start a business. 66% is a lot of people that are interested in starting businesses. However, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported that only 12% of people in the United States were involved with entrepreneurial activity in 2015.

66% of people want to start a business but only 12% actually do. What's stopping you from starting? Click To Tweet

Why is there a massive difference between people who want to start their own business and people who are actually running businesses? While there are many reasons that people give for not starting, a lot of the reasons can be summed up in the fear of the unknown. The issue is that you can’t achieve your dreams when you don’t event start.

What’s Stopping You

Naturally, there are good reasons to be hesitant in starting a new project or new business. What if something goes wrong and the project or business doesn’t work out? What if your project results in a lawsuit? How does starting a new project affect your life and family?

These questions are perfectly normal to have. I had many similar questions when I first started back in 2009. I wanted to start my agency My Local Webstop but didn’t know anything about the legal, accounting, or marketing. What if it didn’t work out? I couldn’t tell my electric company to wait until my business took off.

When I was discussing my worries with a friend of mine, he asked me “What is really the worst that could happen?”. I pondered that over. At the end of the day, even if my business drastically failed and I was months behind in bills, I could still get back on my feet eventually. It may take a few years, but I could recover. I knew what my dreams and goals were. Even if this business failed, I could recover and then try again.

So, my next question was “What obstacles were in my way?”.

Removing Obstacles

Everyone is going to have obstacles in their way when they get started. The great thing about the time we live in is that almost any project or business that you want to start has ways that you can reduce the obstacles in easy ways. For most businesses, you can start the business in a very part-time setting around a full-time job. For example, you can start a photography studio by scheduling photo sessions around your day job.

Some businesses will require some money upfront such as a lawn care company or eCommerce businesses. You can find ways to reduce these costs by borrowing equipment or purchasing used equipment to get you started. For your Ecommerce business, you can only order or make a very small amount of your products until you start getting customers instead of bulk ordering anything.

If you aren’t sure if anyone will even need your product or service, you can even try to validate the idea before you start.

Instead of jumping completely in with your time and money, look for ways that you can reduce the amount of cost and risk that will come with starting your project or business. Even if your business doesn’t have much risk, doing this exercise will help you feel even more confident in being able to start.

Reap Your Reward

Something to remember is that you will gain something from whatever you decide to start even if it fails. You may become successful but you will also learn a lot of valuable lessons and strategies as you go. You may learn the basics of marketing, handling customers, email and time management, and lots more.

I have met so many entrepreneurs who have said something like “If only I knew what I know now 5 years ago when I started”. If you keep delaying when you start, you are also delaying when you will start learning. Take the leap today and start sowing the seeds of your future!

Clear vision is valuable to a growing business

There are many things you need to know when you are starting or growing your business. One thing that I feel is crucial to the success of your business is the vision that you have for it. Where do you see your business in a month? How about 3 months? A year? 5 years? Running a business is hard and sometimes you need to focus everything on getting through the day. Sometimes, you have to make many decisions quickly to satisfy your users and customers. However, you do need to take time to create your vision and reflect on it.

Why you need vision

Without an overall vision, how do you know if you are making the right decision for long term success? When making short term decisions and plans, it is easy to only focus on what you are currently working on. However, you can steer the business the wrong way if you are not making those plans and decisions while keeping the vision in mind. For example, what if you have created a small time tracking service? You may be receiving hundreds of requests from your customers and users. In addition, you may be facing several problems and reported issues.

Without an overall vision, how do you know if you are making the right decision for long term success? Click To Tweet

If you only base your plans on what is immediately requested, you may work on projects that you will have to re-create or throw away later on as you introduce new features. Another example would be if you are running a service business and you are considering adding a new plan or new offering. You should reflect on your vision to see how this will fit into your vision of the business a few years from now. You may discover that this new plan does not align with your goals for the business.

Things to consider when outlining your vision

Now that I discussed why you should have a vision, you may be wondering what your vision should be like and how detailed it should be. The vision isn’t meant to be an exact plan. This is because things may come up later that changes your business model, structure, or plans. However, the vision should be a guiding principle. For example, if you started a nutrition blog, your long-term vision may be to have a large community of people sharing nutrition ideas. This vision will help you make decisions and plans. If you see another nutrition blog start offering a paid service for designing meal plans, you may consider doing the same. However, you will want to consider if this service will help you grow your site into the large community of nutrition sharing people. So, when outlining your vision, keep it simple but consider items such as the size of your business, the size of your audience, and the channels you want to use to acquire and communicate with your audience.

Changing your vision of the business

There will be times when you may consider changing the overall vision of the business. You may see another business offering services that you think will be beneficial to your customers. Or, a user may make a feature request that you feel many of your users will greatly benefit from. After validating your feature or service idea, this is the time to reflect on your vision. It may be beneficial to some of your users, but will it be beneficial to most of them? Will it help you move towards your vision of the business? If so, that’s great. If not, you may want to consider not going that way. However, you can decide to shift your vision in order to begin offering that service or creating that feature. That’s okay. It’s your business and you can shift the vision to suite what you want. However, do not fall for the “shiny object syndrome” where you are constantly chasing the next shiny object. Reflecting on your current vision to see if you should shift is crucial to ensure that you continue down the right path for you and your business.

I would love to hear about the vision for your business! Comment below to share it with everyone.