This is a guest post from Aaron Walker, serial entrepreneur, author, and business coach. Aaron talked about success and significance on episode 19 of the BoldIdea Podcast.
To be successful in business and in life, it is important to put together a plan that reflects your objectives.
If your objective is to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), there are clearly defined requirements that you must meet in order to do so. This helps in forming your plan. You know that you need to complete 150 credits worth of college-level accounting education, have a year’s worth of accounting experience, and pass the Uniform CPA Exam. It isn’t possible to become a CPA without securing these credentials. Using these qualifications as a baseline, the framework to your plan of becoming a CPA is set.
For most entrepreneurs, the elements of the initial plan are not so straightforward. You don’t necessarily have to have a business degree to start your own company, especially in the age of internet commerce. There are no tests you have to pass to become an entrepreneur, and no experience is required by law to enter a new market.
The founders of Uber didn’t need 30 years of experience driving a cab and weren’t required to pass a certification test for building transportation applications, they were able to enter the market with no definitive qualifications for offering the services that they developed. But to gain market share in an industry that was dominated by pre-existing solutions, they needed to have a detailed plan to overthrow the old model. To be successful in their endeavors, they needed to plan wisely and be agile enough to pivot when challenges arose. Their ultimate goal was to use emerging technologies to provide a quicker and more cost-effective solution to individuals who needed transportation. A large component of their plan was developing a new market in which any driver could offer their services. By following their plan, Uber quickly displaced taxi companies as the market leader in the ride-service industry, and at the time of this writing, the company is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
It’s easy to say you want to start a company that reaches a billion dollar valuation, but you can’t expect to achieve that goal without having a definitive plan that helps you and your team visualize how to get there. A plan that maps out a clear direction to your goals can make success in every area of your life easier.
If you jump into something hastily or operate your business with ad hoc ideas each time you reach a new juncture, you will never reach the same pinnacle of success as you would if you had put together a good plan.
In the best-selling marketing manual Don’t Buy a Duck, Derek Champagne stresses the importance of strategic planning and articulates the key components of successful plans. He advises his clients to be intentional with their methodology and tells them that “Looking at the whole puzzle in full view makes it easy to understand how the pieces fit together, each step supplementing the next.”
The planning principles that Derek exemplifies in the business world pertain to success in life as well. If you want to live the life you’ve always imagined, you need to start planning accordingly. Without a plan, it can be challenging to know if you are heading down a path that will be beneficial and profitable to you and your family.