By Tony Iromuanya
No matter how novel an idea is, it will remain just an idea until something happens to propel it from the realm of vision to tangible reality. Your success or failure in transforming an idea or desire that is implanted in your mind into a viable enterprise is largely determined by your knowledge and application of certain principles and building blocks.
The principle shared here is the result of many years of studying the successes and failures of great ancient and modern figures, spiritual leaders, corporate and management gurus. It has evolved over a period of eighteen years of professional and leadership experience spanning across continents, cultures, systems and professions. This is an organic leadership principle that I have christened the L.E.A.D equation, and it goes like this: LEARNING + ENVISIONING + ACTION + DISCIPLINED Focus will result in LEADership in practically any human endeavor. This is a rather simple and organic formula that may be universally applied to attain leadership in any chosen enterprise. Let’s examine the different component factors in this equation
The LEARNING factor is a no-brainer. Entrepreneurial aspiration minus an inquisitive inclination is a recipe for assured failure. Many visionary ideas are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Personal belief and faith in your idea is essential but hardly sufficient to bring it to fruition. To avoid failure and the prospect of losing your children’s education fund to the next “sure-banker” scheme that comes your way, you would be prudent to perform your due diligence. Never start any venture without first counting the costs. You owe it to yourself to study and gather up as much information and historical data of other peoples’ past experiences and learn from them. Objectively assess their success and failure factors against your set of circumstances and truthfully consider the answers you get. Based on your findings, you may re-assess, re-adjust, re-draw, re-align and/or re-direct your goals. The aim of this effort is simply to LEARN and UNDERSTAND before committal action.
As you learn you must write it down. If you cannot write and describe it intelligently in one or two sentences, then you probably cannot build it. Just as you would not go about building your dream home without architectural or building plans, it is not good practice to go about attempting to build a business without a business plan. It is an established statistic that 90 percent of all businesses fold up within five years of opening. Most of these ambitious entrepreneurs never planned to fail, they just failed to plan. So the first investment you want to make towards building YOU, Incorporated is to write a business plan. Look at the business plan as the building plan of your future enterprise. Do not go any further until this is done. This stage is far more important than registering or incorporating, buying furniture fixtures and equipment, hiring staff or renting offices. Don’t wing it, plan it. Write the vision and make it plain and simple enough for the average Joe to read, understand and be excited about it. This leads to the next factor in the LEADership equation.
ENVISIONING means creating a mental model of your working business based on the written vision. This is the process of building your dream business in your mind to the point that it becomes visually tangible. This is the process of Imagineering. Before engineering it, imagineer it. Bring it to life in your imagination. If you can see, touch, feel, smell, hear yourself succeeding in this new business, chances are that you most likely will. Envisioning is not asking you to become delusional. Envisioning is the intentional exercise of an innate ability that man has to call forth things that do not presently exist into being. This is a common thread that runs across the lives of entrepreneurial leaders like Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, T.D Jakes, E.A Adeboye and Kirbyjon Caldwell, to name but a few.
As you envision yourself succeeding, you must be open to re-evaluate, re-assess, re-align, re-draw and redirect. This should be an on-going exercise until you arrive at a tested and workable blueprint. The driver behind this ongoing exercise is the truth that it is easier and cheaper to correct a conceptual flaw on paper than it is to fix a broken structure after it has been built.
ACTION is what translates a knowledgeably envisioned idea into reality. A Japanese proverb declares that “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without Vision is a nightmare”. To avoid perpetual daydreaming and horrific nightmares, we must take intelligent well-timed actions. As we take action on our vision, wise counsel tells us to assemble the best supporting cast that we can find. Knowledge is power and you are what you know. Likewise, what you do not know may derail your dream. Therefore, whatever knowledge you lack personally, hire a professional to provide for you.
You definitely do not want to go it alone. You need access to professionals with proven expertise in their respective fields to guide you. The investment in expert and professional know-how typically pays for itself by avoiding potentially costly mistakes from the start. A good supporting cast of experts would include legal, financial planning, capital funding, accounting and taxation. A largely overlooked area is marketing and branding. In today’s evolved market place, branding makes a huge difference. That is the power behind Starbucks ability to attract people in droves lining up to drop five bucks for a cup of coffee. The differentiator is no longer just price and quality. A good blend of hip branding, exceptional service, and the customer’s perception of her experience at your establishment, is what differentiates the great business from the run-of-the mill wannabe.
DISCIPLINED focus is the final factor that will sustain your idea and translate it into a thriving enterprise. You need to be tenaciously fixated on the destination because obstacles are what you will see when you take your eyes off the goal. As you diligently go through the process of leading your vision to reality through the LEAD principle, be open to informed and intelligent adjustments, but refuse to settle for less than your dream goal. Permit no distractions and commit to staying the course. And always remember that the greater rewards of your attained goal cannot be compared to the effort and sacrifice of this present time. So stay the course and see your dream come to pass. Do not be like the oil prospector who gave up the dig when he was only a couple of feet from striking oil.
Good luck in the pursuit of YOU Incorporated, the ultimate entrepreneur’s dream.
Tony Iromuanya is a Dallas-based Immigration Attorney and Management Consultant. He can be reached at: [email protected].