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How Do You Visualize Doing Something You've Never Done?

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Dear Norm,
When I was in high school, my father and I made furniture pieces that we sold at craft shows. The business could easily have grown, but my father didn't want it to get bigger. Now my brother-in-law and I are talking about starting a furniture business that we'd build into a substantial company. Our problem is that we have trouble imagining ourselves doing it. How can two men from poor backgrounds get over the difficulty of visualizing themselves in a situation that's so different from anything they've ever experienced?
--Jace

Dear Jace,
It sounds as though you've already visualized the company you want to build. I think you actually have two other problems. First, you're not giving yourself enough credit. You know more about business than you realize. Second, you're looking too far ahead. My advice would be to put together a plan about where you and your brother-in-law want to be in five years. Then figure out a good short-term goal. You might follow in your father's footsteps, selling your furniture at craft shows. As you're selling, you'll make contacts. Tell people you're thinking of starting a company. Some of them may be interested in helping you. Also look for a mentor who has built a business before. Being poor as a child is not an obstacle in business.
--Norm

Last updated: Sep 11, 2008

Street Smarts columnist and senior contributing editor NORM BRODSKY is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and grown six businesses.
@NormBrodsky




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