5 Small steps for a CEO, one big leap for your business
How To Go From Idea To Action in 5 Steps
Guestpost by Mariah Tomkinson
As entrepreneurs, we often have ALL THE IDEAS, and it can be hard to find focus and put all those dreams and plans into action. It’s easy to have the dream, it gets real when you have to put that dream into action and see it through.
These five steps will help you take that idea and get to work on it!
A Solid Strategy
First things, first, before we dive into planning out your next big project. We need to pump the brakes a bit and examine if this idea makes strategic sense for where your business is.
It’s so easy to get caught up with an idea, and not examine if this is the time to pursue this idea. It can be hard for entrepreneurs to shelve ideas, but if you don’t strategically analyze your ideas, you often run into burnout, loss of money, and loss of focus in your business.
For example, it doesn’t make sense for you to put in 100 hours building a signature course if you don’t even have an email marketing system set-up yet. Strategically it would make more sense for you to get that system in place and work on building your list before diving into creating a huge course.
Before pressing go, make sure this is the right project, for right now in your business.
Lucky for you Diane has the Idea Validator to help guide you on this step!
Plan It Out
Chunk out, and braindump your idea.
This initial plan doesn’t need to be perfect or include every detail that goes into the project. To get a project started, it helps to have the idea laid out and all the moving pieces organized.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
- What tools/systems are needed?
- What collateral is needed? Copy, websites/pages, design, etc
- Who will be doing the work? Will you need to find someone to help with certain aspects, or can your existing team handle it?
- What do you need to launch/promote/maintain this project?
You may even realize that this is a stage one and stage two type of project, or two projects you are trying to make into one.
I highly recommend that you use a project management tool (Trello, Asana, Clickup) to start laying out your project.
And, if you aren’t sure you understand what you need to bring this idea to life, then you may need to look for feedback or hire someone to help you plan out the idea.
Have A Set Timeline + Be Realistic
Now that you’ve thought out the basics of bringing that idea to life, what is the timeline to making this happen?
The first step in a project NEVER getting completed (or even pass the planning stage) is for you to have no set timeline in which you want to see this plan come to life.
Based on your planning braindump, how soon do you think you can make this idea become a reality? If it’s more than 90-days, then focus on what you can get done and what you will commit to tackling this quarter versus next quarter.
For the big pieces of the plan, try to estimate how much time it might take to complete each, and add it up. This will give you a loose timeline, but remember your rough plan is not going to include each little piece, so be generous with what you think the time budget will be.
Be realistic, here is the thing, unless you are stopping your regular business activities or outsourcing the whole project, you will have a limited amount of time to commit to this new project.
Even though you might estimate 60 hours to complete this project it’s not going to be done in a week and a half.
Schedule In The Time
Even if you plan on outsourcing the majority of the work, you still need to schedule in time to communicate the idea, give feedback, and find/manage people to outsource it to.
I always ask clients when starting a new project, “What are you going to give up to have the time to make this happen?”
If you don’t intentionally make the time for a new project, then unintentional consequences are going to happen.
Most of the time, the consequences are personal (like slacking on exercise, sleep, or family time). Other times it’s not following your content strategy or following up with new leads.
Intentionally setting aside the time to commit to this project is the key to avoiding overwhelm, burnout, and feeling like things are all falling apart. And even potentially giving up on the project.
Get To Work
This is where that project management tool comes into play, and it’s time to build out when you (or team members) are going to tackle this project. You start by breaking the braindump down into tasks.
You might have “create sales page” as a to-do. Create a sales page is not a single step task. I would break down that to-do into:
- Write copy
- Gather testimonials
- Create graphics
- Integrate payment processor
- Integrate email service
But even before that you need to know:
- The name of the program
- Core benefits/customer pain points
- Where that page lives (is it on your website, on a course platform?)
So for this example: Prep sales page task would include name, benefits, pricing, platform as checklist items, and each of the other items (copy, graphics, integration) would be individual tasks that may even need subtasks.
Now it’s time to schedule in what tasks will happen this month, starting with what you (or your team) will work on next week!
I like to “schedule” out projects by week. So week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, then move tasks into their expected weeks.
BUT don’t try to assign or set due dates for each task. Set due dates as you are ready to assign each task on the project (even if it’s just to yourself).
For the example above, I wouldn’t assign any of the core “sales page” tasks until the prep sales page tasks were completed.
And that’s it; your plan goes from an idea to action in 5 easy steps.
I’m totally joking about it being easy, and let me tell you step 5 is like step 500 or even 1000.
BUT the good news is that it’s simply taking one step after the other. Just make sure you are setting yourself up for success by having a solid structure and strategy when tackling that fabulous new idea.
Mariah runs Bloom Hustle Grow, where she helps female service-based entrepreneurs make their hustle happier by establishing strategic direction, crafting actionable plans, and getting their business operations organized and optimized.
She is a certified Director of Operations, has an MBA and BS in Business, and has spent many years saying, “that’s a great idea, but how are we going to execute that.”