Baby Steps

Some goals are overwhelming to the point where you feel frozen and unable to start.

This is a sign that the magnitude of the goal is counterproductive.

When a CEO is overwhelmed with the task before them, I tell them to break down the problem into smaller “baby” steps.

I once had a client that needed to pivot. They needed to shift from one source of revenue to a second, very different, source of revenue.

The new revenue model was so far out of the team’s comfort zone, they were paralyzed by fear. They couldn’t see how they could build a multi-million-dollar revenue stream in 12 months from something nobody on the team knew how to do.

So I said, “Forget the seven-figure goal. Generate $1 in sales within 90 days from this new revenue source.”

Suddenly, the problem didn’t seem so intimidating.

My client thought to himself, “Shoot, even my 8-year-old son can generate $1 in sales from a lemonade stand on a Saturday afternoon. Surely my entire team and I can generate $1 in sales in a quarter.”

They lacked the correct payment processing infrastructure, so they had to figure out that problem.

They lacked a consumer-oriented customer-service function, so they had to create that function.

They lacked product fulfillment capabilities, so they had to build that.

They lacked a supply chain process, so they had to build that too.

It took them roughly 75 days to get that first $1 in sales.

Twelve months later, they broke $1 million from that new part of the business.

Two years after that, they were on the Inc. 500 list.

The client gave me an Inc. 500 plaque as a thank you for helping them achieve that milestone.

When you find yourself overwhelmed and intimidated by the goal ahead, break the big goal down into baby-step-sized goals that are no longer intimidating.

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