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Begin With The End In Mind


by Dr. Brian Smith, author of “Individual Advantages: Find the I in Team

If you are considering starting a business, it’s important that you develop a plan to do so. Have you ever tried starting a project without a plan? Was said project completed on time or within the scope of that project? Did it end up as you pictured it? We would bet not, as most individuals first-time projects tend to fall a little flat.

Without a plan, there is no way to gauge progress or efficiency and business is no different. You must begin with the end in mind.

What is your goal?

Or more simply put, what do you really want to achieve out of your project? Of course, we all want to make money to provide for ourselves and our families, but what are you so passionate about that you can see yourself doing that for years? Something that will be work but is so fun that it doesn’t feel like work. Defining this now will determine what your legacy is. How do you want to be remembered?

What are your values? 

What do you value most in life? Does your business, or your plan for a business, reflect those values? Creating a mission statement and vision for your business, and your life, is important. Don’t lose sight of your morals and think that the end justifies the means. Some of the most successful people in life make decisions with a values-based system.

Can you measure your performance along the way?

When you begin with the end in mind and set a plan for yourself, you also need to be mindful to set performance goals for yourself along the way. Measuring your activities and results will give you tangible and quantifiable feedback on whether or not you are truly making progress towards your end goal. If you find that you are not making progress towards your goal, it’s time to reassess the plan and make adjustments. Don’t be afraid to tinker with the plan if it isn’t working the first time; you will find a method to make it work and will reach the end.

Have you built a sustainable lifestyle?

It is imperative that you build a sustainable lifestyle prior to building your business. You need to do this because your business must conform to your life so that you can have a simple work-life balance. Michael Gerber outlines this in his book “The E-Myth Revisited“, where he also discusses how large, major corporations don’t happen by chance or overnight.

How do you envision your company’s culture? 

What do you want your business to feel like? Or, how you do you want it to function? Will you allow your employees access to sensitive data? How will you empower your employees? What kind of leader will you be? These, and dozens of other questions, must be asked at the beginning of your plan so you can decide what your company culture is going to look like.

Do you have an exit strategy?

Having an exit strategy when beginning any plan is vital for your mental health. This ultimate ending should be considered long before launching into any business plan. When do you want to sell your business? When do you want to retire? What goes into selling a business? What will your business be worth by then? Would your children (or other family members) want to or be good at running the business? How would you sell the business to employees?

When you begin with the end in mind, you have less surprises and can start building properly from the beginning. Not only will you need to ask yourself some hard questions about starting a business, but you will need to ask hard questions about yourself. In order to start a business, you need to know yourself down to your foundation. You must understand your flaws, habits, willpower, support, and more.

If you need guidance in uncovering your foundation to begin your journey”Individual Advantages: Find the I in Team” focuses on just that. If you’re looking to build a business, and ultimately a team, you must know yourself and begin with the end in mind.


Dr. Brian Smith is the author of “Individual Advantages: Find the I in Team“. He holds a PhD in organizational psychology, a master’s degree in management information systems, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt Consultant. Brian has been helping business owners and managers since 1988. His company, IA Business Advisors (a DBA of Individual Advantages), has helped over eighteen thousand clients since 1996.