Social Business: Clarify Your Idea From Vague To Focused And Actionable

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Submitted by: Justin Hayslett

How to Clarify Your Social Business Idea – From vague to focused and actionable.

Recently I was working with someone on this issue. It is common among a lot of entrepreneurial thinkers. They have big and great idea. However, in their mind it was too massive and too overwhelming. Clarity is needed in your social enterprise, or any business idea. Make it simple. Otherwise it will be too big and too undefined and you won’t be able to make it actionable.

Get ready and get a notebook and pen, computer, or iPad, and get ready to work through these points. Be sure to write it out. This is very important. If you don’t write it out it will keep on stranded in your head looping the same un-actionable cycles over and over.

Here are two frameworks to help you clarify your idea:

1)Hedgehog Concept (from Jim Collins Good to Great)

2)Tony Robbins OPA

Hedgehog Concept:

What are you most passionate about in the world? (What social issue are you trying to solve?)Don’t limit it to your business idea. Just list all things out that that you are considering. This is a vital part for a social business entrepreneur, what social troubles are you most passionate about solving? What makes you most angry when you hear about it?

List them out.

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Now rate them. What are your top two? Once you do this it will give you more clarity into what the social business should really be focusing on.

What are you best at in the world? Or another way to say it, what do you like working at most in the world? This will form the way the business is run. It may even adjust the complete direction of the your social business idea. Are you best at speaking, networking, writing, selling, talking, connecting with people, administration?

What drives your economic engine? (Or if you are a non-profit, in his book Good to Great in the Social Sector, Collins says this circle can be changed to – How can we develop a sustainable resource engine to deliver superior performance relative to our mission). What is your business model? How are you going to make money from this venture. You have clarified the one greatest passion or social difficulty you want to overcome. You have stated out what you are best at in the world (how you are going to personally solve the social problem). And additionally, how you can make money, in the best way, through your idea.

Commonly there are aspects of our ideas that we hold very tightly to for no reason. Which items in your idea are non-negotiables? What utterly makes the business? What definitely HAS to be there?

If you believe it is vital then WHY? Does it align with with what you are most passionate about, what your best at, or your business model? If not, then maybe it should not be there.

OPA Model – Tony Robbins

Now that you’ve done that you should have quite a bit more clarity already. But let’s take it one step further. By the end of this, preferably you are going to have a specific set of action items to take away and do.

OPA – Outcome / Result, Purpose, Actions

Outcome: Write out the final outcome. Try to be very specific. Don’t just say, I want to help feed orphans. Say:

I will clothe orphans worldwide; launching with india. I will do this through selling my own distinctive designed t-shirts and donating one shirt for everyone purchased. These shirts will be sold in boutique clothing retailers starting in Colorado, and increasing from there.

This is simply a quick example off the top of my head. It should overlap what you came up with in the Hedgehog principle above.

Purpose: List out 10-15 reasons WHY you are doing this.

Actions: Brainstorm as many action items you can think of that you need to do. From the biggest to the smallest. Many of them will be big projects in themselves with their own set of action items. For example, you might have:

Call John to see about the price of buying product x from him.

Create a business plan

Create a website

Start blogging regularly

Meet with X about possible partnership

Clearly calling John is a one step process. However, developing a business plan is a significant project within itself. Similarly, creating a website is a task with many action items to finish. Do not worry about this for now. Later on, after you have finished this whole exercise. You should go through each of these, pick out the projects and do another OPA framework for that.

Rate each item on its importance.

Go through each item, pick out the bigger projects and create another OPA for it.

There you have it. Hopefully you’ve clarified your business idea; boiled it down to one area to focus on. You should also have a clear set of action items ordered in priority to get you going.

Write out the outcome and purpose on your computer, even add some relevant exhilarative pictures and quotes, and hang it on the wall to look at everyday. This is very important. There’ll be days when you don’t want to do it, when you don t want to get out of bed, and don’t want to write that next article. Days when you don’t want to make that next sales call, or book that next meeting. Look at it, let it re-motivate you!

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