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To move forward, work backward

Have you ever heard someone say, "let’s do a work back"? I met with a techie recently who was talking about how he approaches creating a great website. He said, "My preferred strategy is to write out the wish list and then do a work back plan."

He was referring to the same concept that Jeff and I advise for life planning – we advise people to envision their perfect life and then work backward to today listing out all things necessary to bring that life to fruition.

Though obvious to those experienced in business, we wanted to flesh it out a little for entrepreneurs a little newer to the business world…

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As you set about achieving your various goals, whether related to life planning, website development or just about anything else in business, always start the process by coming up with your vision of where you’re headed, where you want to end up. If it’s a revenue stream you’re envisioning, describe it, paint a picture of it. If it’s a number of customers, describe that. Or, maybe it’s a certain amount of notoriety you’d like in your field. Detail it out, if that’s the case. 

Then, with a clear picture of where you want to go, start making some logical conclusions about the step right before fulfilling your vision. And then articulate the step just prior to that, and so on. What you’re creating is a "work back plan" that will help you create a step by step roadmap that takes you as far into the future as your vision allows for.

This creates an immense amount of sanity, context, prioritization, focus, ability to communicate to key people, and other benefits as you cultivate your business opportunity. It helps as much for day-to-day activities as it does for the long term planning that may be more obviously associated with crafting this vision and the actions you’ll have to take to get there.

So, if you’re determined to make your business move forward, try working backward.

About the Author: Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to [...]

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