I talk to many people in any given week who have brilliant, transformative ideas that they want to launch into the world, but who don’t know where to start.
I get it. It’s overwhelming.
Here’s the formula I’ve discovered that works for me for starting an initiative.
Note: this is not a comprehensive plan for launching a business but it will get you started. And starting is usually the hardest part.
Step 1: Take something you do — something you believe in — and tease out the system. What parts can be replicated by anyone, anywhere?
EXAMPLE: I was talking with someone last week who believes in building culture in schools. I asked how she does this and she described her method. Without realizing it, she followed a number of steps, albeit intuitively. I coached her to pull out the 3-5 steps and describe them in detail with a principle (such as “Step 1” above), an example, and next steps for someone else who wants to implement the steps.
Step 2: Identify the audience.
EXAMPLE: Who needs it? Who wants what you have? Resist the temptation to say, “everyone.” Who is the low-hanging fruit — your specific niche who needs what you have now? In her case, the target audience was anyone who has “culture-building” as part of their actual role in schools. This is likely principals, assistant principals, deans of students, and grade level chairs.
Step 3: Connect what you have to the audience.
EXAMPLE: What’s the easiest way to reach them? Email? Social media? A presentation? For her, a simple email would work. Draft the email, include the steps, and send it along! What’s the structure of the email? Here’s what I would suggest:
1. “Hello” and intro.
2. “For the past several months we’ve been building culture in my school. I wanted to share what we’ve done and the outcome, as well as a few tips that may help you in your effort.”
3. Share what you’ve done, the tips, and a few ways to execute.
4. Ask for feedback and other ideas. “I’m hoping to open up the conversation and hear what’s working for you!”
5. Thank them. If appropriate, send along a link or other method for them to provide feedback.
Step 4: Get feedback.
EXAMPLE: Ask for their thoughts. What works for them? What have they tried? What do they think about your proposed steps? Encourage them to implement the system and give feedback.
Step 5: Offer more.
EXAMPLE: Offer additional assistance in the form of a video, in-person meet-up, coaching, newsletter, emails, or some other mechanism. The more value you can add to your audience, the more they will come to you as the expert. You will build tremendous influence and credibility.
Now keep up the momentum! Starting is just that — the beginning. Most initiatives live or die by momentum, which comes from consistently adding value over a long period of time.
Hi! I'm Dustin.
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