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Look Beyond Dreams of Vast Growth to Find and Prepare for Practical Problems

Jan 20, 2008
"Do you know there's a road that goes down to Mexico and all the way to Panama? -- and maybe all the way to the bottom of South America . . . ? Yes! You and I, Sal, we'd dig the whole world with a car like this because, man, the road must eventually lead to the whole world. Ain't nowhere else it can go -- right?"

-- Jack Kerouac

I often meet business leaders who want to grow their organizations by more than 20 times. When describing their dreams, their eyes are bright, their chins are uplifted, and they have a smile on their faces.

When I ask them how they will accomplish this, they start to frown, stoop over, lower their gaze to their feet, and shrug their shoulders as though they were carrying the weight of the world on their backs.

Ask that same business leader how to recruit a new board member, and you get none of the enthusiasm nor any of the discouragement.

How can such exciting dreams be turned into reality?

It's simple: Start looking at what practical problems are presented and what simple steps you can take.

Let's look at a common dream from an earlier era to see the mental processes involved in going from daydream to results.

In the 1950s many people dreamed about the unlimited potential of being able to drive from Alaska in North America to Patagonia in South America. In those days, only a small percentage of people had flown, and the open road offered a special allure.

With such broad appeal and discussion, you would think that many people took that exciting opportunity. Yet very few did. Why? The road was a long and hard one, and many dangers lay along the way.

For North Americans, the challenges included car insurance that often didn't extend south of the United States, a lack of repair parts in many locations, an inability to speak and understand Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, problems with dysentery, concerns about bandits, ignorance concerning local accommodations, and fear induced by stories of people having become lost in jungles along the way. Surely it was easier to drive across one's own familiar country than to take on such seemingly limitless challenges in pursuit of unspecified, although abstractly intriguing, benefits.

The opportunity to expand your sales level or beneficiary support by 20 times can be equally daunting . . . but in different ways. Here are some questions that might go through your mind:

-Will a foreign government seize our property?

-Will a currency collapse leaving the investment worthless?

-Will our executives be kidnapped for ransom?

-Will we be able to sell or deliver enough to cover the high overhead costs of having many new operations?

-Will our cash flow remain positive enough for the organization to be financially sound?

-Will the return on investment satisfy investors, lenders, and donors?

-Will people steal from our organization?

-Will terrorists attack our operations?

-Will politicians denounce what we are doing?

-Will competitors be able to bribe corrupt officials to put pressure on us?

Only time will tell what all of the risks, barriers, and delays will be. However, it is an enormous advantage when you can find the largest and most difficult obstacles first.

You can then have more time to either consider those obstacles or strategically avoid them. For example, Jack Kerouac could have eliminated many of his potential problems in traveling the length of the Americas by bringing enough travelers checks to buy another car if necessary; carrying spare parts for what was most likely to fail; learning how to make his own repairs; storing extra water, fuel, and oil in the car; treating local water and food to make them hygienic; and including a passenger who spoke Latin American Spanish well.

What are your obstacles to expansion?

How can you deal with or avoid them?
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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