Business Not as Usual

In the past two months, I had begun to adjust quite nicely to quiet mornings at home after dropping Kirk at his morning class. I’d come in the door, get my English Breakfast tea brewing, and launch the Becoming Jane soundtrack on iTunes. With my cup of hot tea properly creamed and sugared, beautiful strains of music softly filling the farmroom, Diva purring at my feet, and soothing green forest scenes randomizing on my screensaver, I would open my Bible and begin to read the next few psalms. Then I would read three or four chapters aloud from Isaiah, and then a few verses from Matthew. I’d journal a couple paragraphs in the margins as offerings of prayer and then head to the bedroom to spend time in silence, listening for His voice. After that, I’d re-enter public life: check e-mail, catch up on blogs, and begin to prepare for afternoon class.

Unfortunately, the past two weeks have disrupted that lovely expectation. This month's course in project and team management has found me working busily away at a major project that aids a local non-profit, which has meant team meetings and phone conferences and lots of project planning, not to mention keeping up with the regular course material and preparing for exams. Add to that mix the occasional lunch or coffee date with a friend, and you have one very busy girl!

But that’s not all. Also due this past Friday was our business plan proposal. (Have I mentioned yet how insane this month has been?!) This has meant crystallizing the slow incubation process I’ve been going through and watching my idea begin to take on glorious new life.

This new life was mostly spurred on by necessity. I learned through the grapevine (meaning Kirk, since he's a month ahead of me in this process) that the faculty who approve the business plan proposals are looking for achievable ideas that don't require an exorbitant amount of capital. They want us to be working on ideas we can actually make happen once we leave. I can certainly appreciate that, as I'm in this program to make something happen when I leave anyway.

So, as I'd been preparing for this proposal in my head over the past few weeks, I continued to imagine that my idea was achievable simply because I could envision it in my mind and knew that I would work hard to develop it and would eventually assemble the team necessary to make up for the abilities and talents I wasn’t personally bringing to the table. Achievable? Check.

I'd also begun preparing myself to scale down my initial expectations of what the online product launch could look like so that it doesn't require as much start-up capital as I'd come to believe it would need. In other words, I began to talk myself into being willing to consider ways to bring my initial launch costs into the $300,000 range instead of $3 million. Affordable? Check. (Well, at least more so than before!)

But ultimately, I had to rethink both those things. An idea is not achievable simply because you can envision it in your head. You have to consider milestones and how to get to those milestones and what resources and talent you will need at the ready to reach them. And plainly put, the idea I’ve had in mind requires a greater scope than I’m presently qualified to meet by myself. This means taking on capable partners and assembling a hefty board of advisors, neither of which I am in the least opposed to doing but both of which will require a lot of time to instate, which consequently means quite a bit of lagtime before any results can actually, finally, be tested and proven. And to some degree, you need some legitimate, proven results before you can expect major funding, even at that lowered figure amount I mentioned above.

As the deadline for the proposal neared, I began to realize how far in over my head I would be if I pursued this big idea right away. So I began to ask the question, What can I do right now?

What I can do right now, I discovered, is start a small group right here in my own house that goes through the kind of personal development process I was envisioning creating for the online world. This will allow for immediate testing with immediate feedback, all in a context I love best and with the opportunity to grow into my capacity and authority to lead this venture wherever God decides to allow it to go from there. For all I know (and hope), perhaps one small group will expand into two, or three, or even four over the course of this next year, which puts me that much farther ahead of the curve at graduation than I could have been with the initial idea. Plus, as a major bonus, getting started this way is virtually costless, and the costs I'm imagining would come with an official, real-world product launch are somewhere in the range of 10-20 percent of the lowered expected cost for the online version. And as this real-world approach incurs profits, we can begin to pave the way for online adaptations.

Wow! My mind is ablaze with dazzling sparkles of light at the mere thought of all this goodness. Isn't yours??