The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Alan Kay, Famous Inventor



It takes enormous courage to “take the leap” to start a business.  I have personally taken that leap and know, down to my toes, how terrifying that leap can be.  Every business owner has shown that they have courage and take initiative … and are worthy of respect.

Anyone who has jumped into business ownership had a powerful reason for doing it.  That reason was powerful enough to help the person overcome their fear.

There are lots of good reasons for starting a business:

  • Perhaps you’ve had jobs or bosses that you really disliked and wanted to create something better.
  • Maybe things are tight and you want to make more money.
  • Some people want to free up time … to spend with family and/or pursuing your passions.
  • Others have an overwhelming desire to serve or share something wonderful with the world.

No matter the reason, in EVERY case the courage to launch a new business venture began with a hope for a better life – the ultimate human desire.  If all goes as hoped, you want your new life to be better than the old one.

The great business guru, Stephen R. Covey, calls this vision of a better life “beginning with the end in mind.”  He says that all great creations are actually created twice – once in the mind and then again in the physical world.  If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want, it might be like climbing a ladder that is leaning against the wrong wall.



My experience is that it can be much easier than you think to end up climbing a ladder leaning against the wrong wall.

How does this happen?

Launching a new business is absolutely overwhelming.  You figure it out as you go.  You have long hours and long lists of tasks to complete.  There is also a constant undercurrent of genuine terror that your money may run out and you might fail, which may cause you to do “whatever it takes” to survive.

I get it.  Boy, do I ever get it.  Been there, done that.

The problem is that the task lists and the figuring it out and the doing whatever it takes can take you down a path you never intended to follow.  You may discover, to your horror, that your new life is nothing like what you envisioned.



I believe there are two solid solutions to prevent you from getting lost in the startup craziness:

  1. Master business launch fundamentals so you always know what you need to do to get your business thriving and paying the bills. This takes away the feelings of confusion and terror because you are able to act rather than be acted upon by your circumstances.

This is the whole point of Launch School.

  1. Figure out a way to never forget why you started your business in the first place so that you never find yourself lost.

Suggestions below on how to do this …


Many of the greatest business gurus have shown business owners the tools they need in order not to forget their purpose.

The most effective form of the tool you use really depends on whether you are primarily left brained (rational, linguistic) or right brained (creative, visual, feelings).

For the left brainers …

Covey suggests have a Personal Mission Statement – a “blueprint” to which you can always refer.  Covey said that “if you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize what you want, you empower your circumstances to shape your life by default.”

Napoleon Hill recommends creating what he calls a Statement of Purpose – a one-page detailed description of what your life will look like after you’ve reached your goal.  He claims that, for this to really work, you need to commit it to memory and say it out loud multiple times every day, including right after you wake up and just before you go to bed.

(By the way, I’ve done what Mr. Hill suggests and created a detailed Statement of Purpose, which I committed to memory – and even had a ringtone trigger to remind me.  In case you’re wondering, my ringtone was the theme from the movie “The Great Escape.”  This was after I was laid off from a job and believed I had finally “escaped” from my corporate job prison.)

For the right brainers …

Many gurus have suggested that you create a Vision Board – which is a collage of images show, visually, the end state you’re striving for.  Stick that Vision Board in a prominent spot at home and/or at work and look at it often.  If done right, a moment’s glance at the board should fire you up and bring back all the FEELINGS you had when you took your leap to start a business.

I’ve also created an inspirational vision board for myself on a PowerPoint slide.

No matter what you choose to help you remember, create your End State Tool with great care and effort.  If you do this right, this will become a dear friend – something you turn to again and again when times get hard.


Have you done something like this to make sure your don’t forget what you envisioned when started your business?  If so, what did you do?

  1. Thank you for writing this article, Greg. As a newbie in business it has been so easy to get lost in the never ending list of things to do. It is pretty easy to take your eyes of the prize, what you are going into business for in the first place and get so bogged down.

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