Start From Where You Want to Get To, Not From Where You Are

Start From Where You Want to Get To, Not From Where You Are

Most entrepreneurs know where they want to get to in terms of what their product or service should be. Typically the vision is so clear and distinct in your mind that it’s acutely frustrating to not be there already, just because you need a little more time and money.

Sometimes, however, we entrepreneurs can limit ourselves by focusing on where we are, not where we’re going.

Let me give you an example. A few years back I entered a business plan competition in which you have to describe your business idea – on a napkin. Yes, a napkin. It was put on by Entrepreneur Magazine and Southwest Airlines because the founder of Southwest, Herb Kelleher, drew the first flight plans for Southwest as a triangle between Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.

I had an idea that I thought we be great for this competition. And I had tons of stuff I’d written, images, forecasts, you name it.

I sat down and started editing it down, down, down.

The problem was that it was basically impossible to edit it down that much.

So finally I did the opposite. I took a piece of paper the size of a napkin, and started working on some key bullet points and drawings that I thought would tell the story. Before long I had my basic layout, and then it was just a matter of polishing. So instead of cutting away what shouldn’t be there like that line about sculpting, start with only what has to be there, and see if you can add just a wee bit more

I won the contest, got written up in Entrepreneur Magazine and got free tickets on Southwest.

Focus on where you need to be, and go backwards from there.