Creative professionals are brilliant idea generators, with the inventiveness and ingenuity to think outside the box and come up with novel solutions to existing problems. However, thinking about clever concepts isn’t the same as actually taking action. Without direction, all of those great ideas will remain just that: ideas.
Seeing your dreams come to fruition takes far more than a few brainstorming sessions and a mood board. You need to create a plan that serves as a roadmap guiding you between benchmarks until you achieve your goals. Once you have your dream business out of your head and onto paper, that’s where the rubber truly meets the road.
Here are the four steps to bring your dreams to life, once and for all.
Start with the basics
Before you get too far into the weeds, you need to find clarity in your business and ensure that it is fundamentally sound. Start out by selecting a name, defining what your company does, and begin fleshing out the look and feel of your branding. It’s also smart to write up your mission statement and core values, as these components will drive every business decision you make in the future.
Map out your vision
At this point, the framework of your business is starting to come into focus and you can start putting together the final touches to set yourself up for success. Perhaps most importantly, you should spend some time focusing on evaluating your mindset and preparing yourself for the challenges that will inevitably come your way. This will start to reveal the unanswered questions you’ll need to address before launching your business to its fullest.
A great example is financial management. While you may bring in your own personal rhetoric about money, you need to update your mindset to consider it from a professional perspective. How will you charge for your time and services? What can you do to ensure that your efforts are worthwhile? The same goes for time management. Consider how you will begin planning your weeks and optimize your calendar for peak efficiency. For some, this will require a mindset overhaul, but you must take yourself seriously if you expect others to follow suit.
Get your marketing into gear
Before diving into a complex ad campaign or building an email marketing funnel, you need to start at the drawing board. Marketing is most effective when targeted towards a specific corner of the market, so consider who you would like to work with on a regular basis. Picture your ideal client in your head: Who are they? How old are they? What do they do for a living? What are their hobbies? Where do they get their news? What do they like and dislike?
The clearer a picture you can draw of your ideal client, the better you can pinpoint your marketing towards that audience. Throughout your brainstorming session, you might ultimately land on a specific niche that you’d like to serve. Perhaps you are inclined to create an inclusive brand that produces luxury LGBTQ+ weddings, or maybe you get excited to think about helping non-profit companies raise funds for their endeavors. When you niche down, you can tailor your services and products to appeal specifically to the clients you’d like to book, along with strategic messaging that hits the mark with your target market.
As you narrow down your audience, you’ll also answer some important questions about how to reach those clients. In the aforementioned examples, respectively, you may consider advertising in an LGBTQ+ publication like Love Inc. or joining a registry with local chambers of commerce.
Perfect your sales and onboarding approach
Business development isn’t just about building a brand and drawing in new clients; it’s also about what goes on inside your company after the fact. How will you win over prospects? What will keep your customers coming back for more? You must factor in how you will create an impressive client experience that sells your brand and earns referral business.
From being an active listener in sales meetings to building a robust onboarding process that establishes expectations and boundaries, your internal operations are just as vital to your business’ health as your external communications.
When you follow these steps, you will be able to actualize your dreams and achieve everything you’ve dreamed. Will it happen overnight? Not a chance. Will it be easy? Probably not. But, will it be worth it? 100 percent, every single time. Don’t let your beautiful ideas go to waste. Bring them to life before someone else does.