Getting Off The Bench Part I – From Talking The Talk To Walking The Walk
‘Don’t [just] talk about it, be about it’ – Various
I’m not one for the saying talk is cheap. Talk isn’t cheap. Conversations are important because they allow you to learn. They allow you to exchange knowledge and look at things from a different perspective.
However, as I have been developing Getting Off The Bench, the talk eventually became tiresome – for me and the people I was talking to. So you want to help young people achieve their potential and chase their passions through media – ok great, so where is it? I really like your idea, so where’s the website? Hmmm, errrr, yeah, about that – was often the response!
I graduated from University in July and I came to a crossroads – it was now or never. Either I do this now, or forever live with the regret about what could have been. There was never going to be a better moment – I had an abundance of time, knowledge and contacts, what excuses could I make?
Well you can always make excuses! I don’t have enough skills for this. How can I build a website? Will people even like it? Maybe I should get a job…..
Two weeks passed and still I hadn’t started. Then I finally resolved to myself: this is it, let’s go all in.
Ok, that’s cool but where do I actually start??? I first broke down the idea on a template called the ‘Lean Canvas Model’. It allows you to quickly brainstorm your idea so you can identify the problem you’re addressing, potential customers, why your business is unique and so on. Cool, I thought, that’s given me a better picture.
Next I decided I really had to put myself out there. I looked at the calendar. My birthday is on September 25th , that gives me about 8 weeks. That’s the day. Establishing this deadline meant that I had made myself accountable to myself first. But that’s not enough. I had to tell people – so I did (and continue to do so as you see!). Now I’m accountable to the world!
Ok, now I’m out there, I have to really get cracking. This is why talk isn’t cheap – I phoned up one of my mentors (so crucial to have at least one, yes parents do count!). She said, ‘Great start, have you wrote a business plan, can you describe the business to me in ten words?’ Hmmm, errrr, yeah, about that…… Firstly, I hated business plans. I thought they were pointless as businesses rarely turned out how the plan established. Trade secret – 70-80% of the stuff in them is made up (that came from the experience of helping write two). The description point had me stumped though. I couldn’t do it. It needed much more work.
So after a week break, my partner and I got stuck into the business plan. Like all things shared with friends, once you get going, it was actually a good laugh. We did some decent work as well. It also allowed us to describe the business in around 10-15 words (still trying to further simplify it!). Above all, it gave us the bigger picture – this is what it is now and this is what it can be.
Confidence builds confidence. Establishing that momentum of initial action was so crucial. That’s just the start though. Now we need to get real gritty – building the platform and getting the word out. Like a child, once you learn how to walk, you want to run! So in the next part, I’ll let you know how the marathon progresses!
This is the first in a series of Blogs by young entrepreneur, Dubem Menakaya – the series will chart his experiences of setting up his own company and offer handy hints to budding entrepreneurs along the way.
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