Start Before You Are Ready: Month 4 — Creating Mile Markers on Your Roadmap

By Angela Mitchell, author, Start Before You Are Ready!

Thanks to the hard work you have done in Chapters 1-3, you know the final destination on your Roadmap. But what route are you going to take to get there? Just like the process of planning your route on a long road trip, you must plan a route to achieve your goals. The good news is that many others are traveling the same path — so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel and figure it out all on your own. You need to share your goals with friends, colleagues, and strangers and talk about your big idea. It’s free research that marketers would charge you a fortune for. Their feedback will almost always give you new ideas and additional insight.

For me: When I decided to start my government consulting business, I shared my vision with approximately 10 people, leading to introductions to four other successful small business owners in the government consulting industry.  They were happy to sit down and tell me the good, bad, and ugly. They shared milestones, lessons learned, contacts for consultants they used, and landmines to avoid.  I was shocked! None of them wanted anything in return. In fact, they were just happy to share their insights and wisdom, paying it forward to help another entrepreneur.

That was a lesson in itself. I encourage so many people who are afraid to share their vision because they think someone will steal it. On the contrary, no one can fulfill your vision better than yourself. If you take nothing away from this book, I hope you embody that lesson: You have nothing to fear by sharing your idea and everything to gain.

Here’s what I did with the gifts: I feverishly took notes and followed up on every contact they provided.  I organized my notes into the four areas (milestones, lessons learned, contacts, and obstacles).  Surf the Internet. Again. And again. I googled “steps to start a business” so often that the search engines sent me information. For this chapter, I am focused on the milestones.

The order of the milestones is essential. And, it is a best practice to list all of the things you must accomplish moving forward to be successful.

Here’s how you create that list:

  • Review all of the notes that you took from your networking conversation. Again. And again.
  • Leverage the #Goals app to search for similar goal templates, so you are not re-inventing the wheel.
  • Modify the #Goals roadmaps to customize the roadmaps for yourself.
    • Customizing that template for your desired end game.
    • Play with it for a week to make sure that it works for your goals.
    • If it doesn’t, choose another one until you find the right fit.
  • Examples of Milestones:
    • Here are some things you need to do when starting a business include:
      • Register your business
      • Obtain $10,000 of financing
      • Develop a Marketing Plan
    • If you want to lose weight:
      • Lose my first 10 lbs
      • Fit into size 10 jeans
      • Run a 10K
    • Watch YouTube videos related to your goals
    • Search the internet for articles on ways to achieve certain milestones.
    • Use the #Goals app to identify a mentor who has successfully achieved your goal and meet with the mentor to gain insight and advice on your roadmap plan.
    • Play with social media.
      • Join groups such as “Entrepreneurs” or “Weight Loss” or “Relationships” or “Investing.”
      • Once you join the group, pose the question to the group and ask for recommendations or help.

Important: Now that you have your list of milestones, make sure that they are in the correct order. A good practice is to engage a mentor and trusted friends to review your milestone order. This step can help reduce pitfalls, for they are likely to provide better insights because they have been through this process themselves.

Also: Your roadmap will be a living document and continue to evolve and your network and share your plan. Our #Goals app, launching in January 2022, will be a great way to share your roadmap and crowdsource this type of feedback, so check back for details!

Note: Once you have at least 80% of your milestones defined, you will break down the milestones into a set of smaller tasks. Taking the examples from the milestones list above, the following is a list of potential sub-tasks:

If you want to open a business:

  • Register your business name
    • obtain a tax EIN
    • reserve a company name
  • Obtain $10,000 of financing
    • open a business bank account
    • Apply for a business loan
    • Start a funding crowdsourcing campaign to raise money
  • Develop a Marketing Plan
    • Create a website design
    • Hire a marketing consulting company
    • Establish social media pages for the business

If you want to lose weight:

  • Set the goal to lose 10 lbs.
    • Drink at least 64 oz. of water a day
    • Reduce your calorie intake to 1,500 calories a day
    • Eliminate drinking soda
  • Fit into size 10 jeans
    • 3 days a week, do 30 minutes of cardio (elliptical or treadmill)
    • The other 3 days: do 20mins of lower body workout
  • Run a 10K
    • Find a 10K training plan online
    • Sign up a for 10K race
    • Find a running partner to train with

Do these tasks seem more like projects than fun first steps? If so, take your time with each one until you master it. The more you work with these tools, the clearer your goals will get. Don’t give up. And tune in for next month’s chapter.

About author and entrepreneur Angela Mitchell

Angela Mitchell, CEO, and CASE Management Consulting president, based in Washington, DC. A multi-million, 8(a) Certified, Minority Woman-owned Small Business founded in 2016, CASE delivers secure, high-quality web-based process automation tools and knowledge management solutions. CASE guides an organization through change, focusing on business processes and technology. “Our mission is to provide leaders with real data to make better business decisions,” Angela says.

Angela is also the co-founder and director of Kids Code Too a non-profit organization focused on building computer science confidence in elementary students (3-8th grades) from underserved communities. Kids Code Too teaches students to build computers, utilize the computers to learn to code, and teach other kids to do the same. Learn more here.

Questions? I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams! Please send me an email.