All innovations start with one great idea, insight or revelation. Everyone with an entrepreneurial mindset is absolutely overflowing with all kinds of great ideas, each one a possible route to them hitting the jackpot and revolutionizing their business or the world. Having a full-on shortage of ideas is never much of a problem in the world of high-achieving business leaders and company starters. For people just entering into this realm, though, the problem is figuring out how to start small from a single idea and grow your business with a sense of intention, rather than trying to fit all of your brilliant ideas into one effective marketing initiative, groundbreaking startup, or new product launch. Thinking small is, without a doubt, the most effective thing you can do as a business leader. Here’s one example of this idea. Think of some popular websites in the Web 1.0 era. They were filled with all kinds of features, from news feeds to message boards to lists of links to a crowded blogs and on and on. The result: too much clutter! Now, think of the most popular sites and apps being used today, a decade or so later. The best ones are minimalist and have little to no clutter on their interface. Guess why? They know that’s the most effective way to find an audience and grow a business. They don’t need to frontload their operation with extra features and side offers. They get a solid foundation at one thing and develop that to the fullest. If your aim is to be effective and deliver maximum value, then you must be the expert in your field. Customers tend to prefer a specialist to a master of none. This additionally allows for you to remove distractions and enable agility in your business. The notion of pivoting is embedded in some of the world’s most iconic brands. It’s okay to fail – fail fast, learn, and implement faster. PayPal At one point in time, Paypal wasn’t Paypal at all. Max Levchin was focused on secured data and PDA devices. Eventually he went into business with legendary investor Peter Thiel to found Fieldlink. But the story pivots again when the two recognize the interesting business opportunities with transferring data and eventually, payment. This spawned a name change to Confinity and eventually Paypal. The duo would later merge with a rising South African computer scientist and inventor. You may have heard of him – a guy named Elon Musk. The company IPO’ed and is now engrained in a large portion of digital consumer behavior.

PayPal Chief Executive Officer Peter Thiel, left, and founder Elon Musk, right, pose with the PayPal logo at corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 20, 2000. Online payment provider PayPal Inc. raised $70.2 million in its widely anticipated initial public offering, but a patent infringement lawsuit gave investors reason to be wary as the stock began trading Friday, Feb. 15, 2002 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. After covering expenses, Palo Alto-based PayPal expects to net $61.3 million from the initial sale Thursday of 5.4 million shares at $13 apiece, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

YouTube Another example of focusing small and a natural transition from PayPal is YouTube. Did you know that Youtube was originally meant to be a video dating service? Yikes is right. PayPal alums had originally created the platform to cater to people conveying their love interests but determined there was a limited market. In fact, after five days there wasn’t a single video uploaded. Due to their commitment to deliver maximum value, the group recognized the demand for their customers wanting to upload all content. This platform went on to become modern day YouTube and eventually got a $65 billion acquisition from Google – the rest is history. Twitter At one point in time, there was Odeo. Odeo helped you find podcasts of interest and subscribe. Feeling their market was doomed to be gobbled up by a dominating competitor, they pivoted to a more social and miniature form of blogging. They called it Twitter. Think Small Story after story you can see successful businesses morphing from an original idea to something far greater than could have been conceived. These changes are rooted in a desire to delight the ideal customer. Once you focus on starting small and winning from that modest place instead of revolutionizing the world in one fell swoop, you’ll be on the right path to success. If your goal shifts to delivering value for an ideal client, you can go extremely deep on their pain points, wants, and barriers to entry. You can also develop efficient methods and processes which will allow you to deliver even greater value at a faster rate to these clients. 3 Steps To A Small Start: Imagine your ideal customer or client. Envision them using the product. Even go so far as giving this imaginary customer a name, a hometown, some basic background info, and preferences in their daily life. How can your business best serve his or her interests? What can your brilliant idea do to help him or her out in her daily life? Start by focusing on this client and grow from there. How can you expect to serve thousands or millions if you can’t even deliver value for one person? Set an objective and target you are trying to hit. This will help you stay laser focused on what you are trying to achieve and keep you diligent about your ideal client’s needs. You as a person might excel at multitasking, but your business won’t be able to, I promise. Serving multiple interests only dilutes your messaging. Optimize. Revisit and redefine your business plan regularly. Ignore your impulse of wanting a handful of different business plans floating about and interacting with one another. Fine tuning a single flexible business plan will help you accomplish the various tasks you want your business to fulfill while keeping you focused on your main objective.

A successful business only seems successful externally because of the focus, vision, and commitment to the ideal client internally. Know who you are targeting, commit to a specific objective & target, optimize your tactics while experimenting to achieve success. Scaling on broken strategy is a recipe for failure. If you are looking to get more focused on your business plan, reach out to us at nickwilliams@deepbridgeconsulting.com. We’re happy to help. If you found value in this post please share and comment below.