Not too long ago, I celebrated my birthday in the Bahamas.

What I found interesting is that people, even when I am on vacation, are curious. My fiancée and I met people and during the course of conversations some found out that I was successfully doubling my enterprise’s performance this year over last year. And, they would ask me questions. Some even told me how they were interested in beginning their own social enterprise or business and others mentioned that they wanted to start on a project but just could not figure out where to begin.

I have been there. Sometimes, it can seem daunting, but it really boils down to one step at a time to start something new.

I told the people who engaged me in this sort of conversation while I was in the Bahamas that they first had to have an idea they were passionate in seeing come alive. I can’t say how important this is because there will be challenges and setbacks along the way. If you don’t really have the passion for seeing your vision and idea through to the end, then it will be very easy to simply give up at after the first few of innumerable obstacles.


More than likely, you will also get the chorus of people who will tell you that it can’t be done or ask you why you would ever want to put so much of what you have at risk. These are the people who never have known defeat because they never risked anything themselves. It means they never won anything either because they failed to get into the battle that is life and business. Ignore them.

Once you are clear about your vision and idea, gather around you supporters and champions. These individuals can be people you already know. They can be new people whom you reach out to specifically for this new enterprise or effort. They can be a mix of professionals and personal friends and family. You will need these supporters to help you see things through and each will have a part to play in giving you some tidbit of information or helping you think through opportunities and challenges in ways you might not have thought.

Then begin to develop the plan. Just as when you travel you use your GPS to help you arrive at your destination, you need a plan for developing a social enterprise, starting a business, nonprofit or beginning a new organizational initiative. Take a careful look at what is being done by others. Then, figure out where and how you would fit in with your idea. Make sure you have developed a plan around marketing, finances, operations and other relevant areas.

Once you have the right resources in place and the support you need, begin to execute your plan. If you have ever started something new, you know, there will be obstacles and course adjustments along the way. That’s simply the nature of life and business. Just keep your eye on the prize and on being able to operate – sometimes – in unknown terrain. That is when you use the best information you have available and when the tough times come, and they will come, you rely on your discipline if the road is temporarily obscured.

Eventually, you will get to your destination, and you will have made it a success or perhaps you will experience the sour flavor of defeat. But, if you are true to the vision and idea, it is not going to go away. It shouldn’t. The world needs people like you: the visionaries and dreamers who just never give up, even after accumulating significant losses.

So, if you are thinking about starting something new, then I encourage you to get creative. Dream. Come up with ideas. Research them, develop the plan and implement it.

Because the eternal question will always be the same if you want to do something new and start a new venture: if not now, when?


© 2015 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.