What do you want to achieve as an entrepreneur this year? Do you have big dreams or small dreams? Do you have big or small goals?
Recently one entrepreneur, a client of mine, has asked me one interesting question: how big do my dreams need to be? He was concerned because he had not translated these big dreams into reality when he had dreamed big. In such a way, he was already disappointed because his big dreams didn’t give him the results he expected.
This case is very interesting for all current and “would-be” entrepreneurs. Why? It is interesting because you can’t expect to achieve your big dreams quickly. For example, if your big vision is to build a billion-dollar company, and it is currently worth several hundred thousand dollars, you cannot expect your dream to become a reality next month or next year.
On the other side, if you do not dream big in starting, your achievements will be projected as small. But, as an entrepreneur, you will always want to achieve big achievements. So, now comes the question of how to make big achievements when you have small dreams.
How can you utilize your big dreams for big achievements?
1. Dream big and start developing incremental processes.
Yes, as we have discussed, you will need to have big dreams if you want to achieve big things. But plans are not enough for your success. You need a process with steps to help you get through the whole journey, from big dreams to big achievements.
Incremental processes will allow you to make step-by-step progress toward achieving your big dreams. Each small step from these incremental processes will bring you one step closer to your big achievements.
Here are two important steps you need to take here:
1.1 Clearly define your big dream or goal you want to achieve.
What do you want to achieve?
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next three to five years?
In this step, you need to write down your big dream in more specific detail.
You can not say you want to generate profit for your company. You must say, “I want to generate $300k profit for my company with innovative products and services”. So, now you know how much profit you want to generate. When you know how much you want to generate, you can start developing your incremental process with steps to achieve this goal.
One important thing here is to make sure that your dream is meaningful and something that motivates you.
1.2 Break down your big dream into smaller milestones
As you already know, big dreams can not be achieved overnight. It is a process. And here, we want to use more incremental processes to help you achieve your big dreams. So, you need to identify the specific milestones that need to be completed to reach your big dream.
For example, your big dream is to start a business. Then you can break down your dream like this:
- Conduct market research and find possible viable business ideas;
- Analyse, rank, and select the best business idea;
- Develop a business model and business plan for a selected idea;
- Analyse required finance and secure funding;
- Hire a great team and launch the business.
If your big dream is to write the book, then your milestones will be:
- Brainstorming the topic for the book;
- Develop book outline;
- Research the topic following the outline structure;
- Write the first draft of the book;
- Reread it and make all necessary editing;
- Publish the book.
If we continue with our example for increasing profitability in a business, you know you can increase profitability if you increase sales, decrease costs, add new revenue streams, and improve customer retention. So, now you can define specific milestones for each of them.
1. To increase sales, I will need to:
- Conduct market research to identify target customers for my products and services;
- Learn about target customers to develop a great sales strategy;
- Train sales staff about the implementation of a new sales strategy;
- Implement the new sales strategy;
- Follow the numbers to check if this strategy really increases sales.
2. To decrease business costs, I will need to:
- Conduct a cost analysis and identify all possible unnecessary costs;
- Implement energy-efficient practices as cost-saving measures;
- Negotiate better deals with all suppliers;
- Improve operation efficiency
- Follow the numbers to check if this strategy really reduces costs.
3. To add new revenue streams, I will need to:
- Research and identify possible new revenue streams;
- Test new revenue streams;
- Make an implementation plan for new revenue streams;
- Implement the plan;
- Follow the numbers to check if new revenue streams bring impactful results to my overall revenue.
4. To improve current customer retention rates, I will need to:
- Conduct research to identify the highest customer pain points;
- Develop a customer retention strategy;
- Implement a customer retention strategy to improve customer retention rates.
- Follow the numbers to check if the new retention strategy improves customer retention rates.
2. Design your incremental processes for optimal use of your current resources.
Achievements of your big dreams will largely depend on your current limited resources. So, your processes will need to consider this fact.
Designing incremental processes for optimal use of your current resources involves several steps:
2.1 Identify and assess required resources
First, you need to determine what resources are required to achieve your big dreams and then understand what and how much of these resources you currently have. Now, you can identify any possible gaps between your current resources and what is needed for achievement.
Because, in many cases, you will have some gaps between required and current resources, you must prioritize your goals based on their importance, feasibility, and alignment with your overall strategy.
This is important because you will need to allocate your resources optimally to maximize their impact on achievement and minimize possible waste. You can reallocate resources from less critical goals to more important ones. You can also try to find ways for more efficient use of existing resources.
2.3 Develop an action plan
Now, you can start working on the plan development. Your plan will need to have all the specific steps you need to take, the resources, the steps’ goals, and when you need to take a particular action to achieve each of the smaller steps or milestones.
Remember to set realistic deadlines for completing each step or milestone.
Sample Process of Action Plan Development
So, let’s start with the first milestone for increasing profitability. It is related to conducting market research to identify target customers for products and services.
Conducting market research to identify target customers can have the following steps:
- Define research objectives. What do you want to achieve with market research? What do you need to learn from your market research? Is it only identifying the target market, understanding their needs, and evaluating the competition?
- Identify market research methods that will be used. Select the market research methods to help you achieve your research objectives from the previous step. This may include techniques such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation, trial and error, focus groups, or online research.
- Become familiar with market research methods. Now that you know what methods you need to use to conduct market research, you need to become familiar with them if you want to use them.
- Develop a process for conducting market research. Now, you must develop a process that outlines all the specific steps to complete your research. You can follow this step-by-step guide on how to develop processes. Be careful because this process will need to include how you will collect data and how you will analyze them.
- Collect and analyze data. Now that you know what to do, you can start collecting data using the previously chosen methods. When you collect all the necessary data, please begin with the analysis, and look for essential insights and patterns to help you identify your target market and understand their needs.
Because the market and customer’s needs can change over time, it is essential to review and update your market research constantly.
When you finish implementing these action steps, you can repeat a similar process for the second milestone and learn about target customers to develop a great sales strategy.
3. Incremental processes will require thinking big and doing small.
As you can see, these processes will need to be designed to include your big dreams and the necessary small steps you will need to take each day to achieve your big visions.
To achieve your big dreams, you need to think outside the box and see new ways of getting things done. In incremental development, the process begins with a vision, and the vision becomes the end goal. The reality is that no one gets there overnight, and incremental steps must be taken to reach that goal. In this incremental process, thinking big means building up the vision.
Once you understand incremental processes, you can implement them into your daily routine. Start with something small, like developing a market research plan. This may sound like a small thing, but the result can be life-changing if you continue to work on plan implementation.
4. Your incremental processes must prioritize your steps toward achieving your big dreams.
We all have hundreds of things going on at any given time. Putting your most important tasks and goals first is difficult when there’s so much on your plate that needs attention. But the more you focus on smaller tasks, the better chance you’ll have of accomplishing the bigger ones.
Remember that there will always be some steps that will bring you closer to achievements than other steps. If you’re working towards achieving a goal, you should consider what it takes to get there in the context of your process.
So, be sure to prioritize them, and if there is one thing you need to do each day, do this as a first thing.
5. Continuously improve your incremental processes if you quickly want to achieve your big dreams.
As we have already discussed, you can’t go from zero to world domination overnight. But, if you’re constantly building and improving your incremental processes, you can start growing incrementally and eventually after some time achieve big success after some time. In fact, the faster you can execute your plans, the closer you will become to achieving success. The faster you execute your “not so good” processes, the quicker you will fix them.
Remember that your processes will never be perfect. They can always be improved. Increasing the number of steps, decreasing the number of steps, lowering costs… All these things will help you to increase the speed of your movement toward your big visions.
However, if you want to stay on track, following small achievements and constantly improving your incremental processes is essential. Continuous improvement will help you achieve your big dreams because all first versions of your processes are not as perfect as they can be. So, following your small achievements and improving your incremental processes is important for success.
Here are some action steps that you will need to take here (also you can use this step-by-step guide to build and install a process improvement system):
5.1 Monitor your incremental processes.
With this step, you want to monitor your progress toward achieving your big dreams through your processes. You want to ensure that they are giving the results you want to achieve and that resources are being used effectively. If there is not something like it was expected, you can change the processes to ensure that you are on the right track and that resources are being used in the most efficient way possible.
5.2 Continuously evaluate the progress you are making.
Continuously evaluate and re-evaluate your progress when you are implementing your incremental processes. This includes looking for new ways to optimize the journey toward achieving your big dreams. If there is something you can change, don’t hesitate to implement the changes and repeat the evaluation and re-evaluation process.
5.3 Communicate with your team members.
Communicate clearly with your team members on the plan, goals, objectives, and the resources allocated. This will help them understand the processes they need to implement and how to make them more efficient.
6. Be consistent about your incremental processes.
As you implement your new incremental processes, you’ll need to be as disciplined about how you implement them.
Consider consistency a simple rule: if you don’t do something every day, you’re likely one step away from achieving your big dreams. To have a long-term effect on your business, your incremental processes must be regularly repeated.
You need to be consistent when it comes to achieving your big dreams. You have already made a big step toward your big fantasies creating incremental processes. So, be consistent in their implementation.
7. Big achievements will require big decisions.
Even if your processes are designed as a step-by-step system to bring you closer to your big achievements, sometimes they will require big decisions. So, don’t escape them. It is your responsibility to make and implement them.
Yes, if you want to achieve something big, you must decide to do it. Who wants to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that he will start a business, lose 30 pounds, or quit smoking? But many people wake up and say, “I’m going to start a business, get rid of 30 pounds, and quit smoking.” Then they do nothing.
If you want to achieve big dreams, you must make big decisions.
These are some of my recommendations regarding the achievement of big dreams. Be systematic and persistent. Your big ambitions will increase your business potential energy.