Boss Lady

Naomi Simson – Ready To Soar

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The highly charismatic Naomi Simson — RedBallon founder and the ‘red shark’ on Shark Tank — has just published (with Harlequin) her latest book, Ready To Soar. She shares some quick glimpses into parts of the book with Business Woman Media readers…

 

FROM DREAM TO STEP ONE

All of us dream, have hopes and aspirations – some bigger than others. Often we are inspired by what others are doing. This book is about pursuing your dream, about discovering whether that dream could become an enterprise that you love and are inspired to be a part of every day. The harsh reality, though, is that no matter how vivid your dream is it does not necessarily make a good business idea – it might be a hobby business or a social enterprise. This book is discovering about what is right for you, rather than comparing yourself to others.

What are the first things you need to do to bring your idea to fruition – to dream, formulate specific ideas and steps to achieve the dream, and then take those first steps?

Your dream could bring your invention to life, or it might be to start a service business or develop an online store. Whatever it is, your head might be so busy you’re not quite sure of the first step to take. Your head will be buzzing with hundreds of questions: ‘Will people buy it?’, ‘How do you test market?’, ‘What do customers think?’, ‘Where do I find customers?’, ‘How many people will like it?’, ‘How do I take the first step?’ or ‘What is the first step?’

These questions seem disparate and incongruous – but at the moment this is what your life is like. You see possibility – you dream. You just don’t know what to do next.

 

TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

You may have heard of a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Jim Collins wrote about it in his book Good to Great, published back in 2001, and explored the question of why some companies make the leap – and others don’t. He talks about how great businesses, once they have created a vision, will often produce a goal (a big one) that is both time-based and specific. In other words, it is a scorecard that lets you and all those around you know that you have achieved your dream.

Creating a vision that would unite people and then a BHAG and scoreboard so people would know where we were up to was very much at the core of my growth strategy at RedBalloon. (And I do the same now with all the businesses I’m involved with.) If you are at the point of starting a business, perhaps the first thing to do is to work out what you want your life to be like. You may have done the work in Live What You Love – and discovered your purpose – or you may just know.

One of the great tools to set you on that path of discovery is to create your personal BHAG. Do you have a vision for what you want to be like? Do you set out a goal (big or small) of what you want to achieve?

A BHAG by definition is possible – but not probable. Saying that you want to climb the highest mountain on each continent, for instance, is possible but not probable. Committing to run a marathon is possible, not probable. But what about when you consider your work, profession, job or career: do you set the same level of personal goals that seem just a little out of your reach – unless you put a whole lot of effort and energy in to make it happen?

Maybe you would like to be a senior manager in a large corpo ration, maybe you would like to have a passive income – perhaps you want to start your own business. How could you express your vision for yourself as a goal? Start small if need be!

I wonder how many people simply give up their dreams because they tell themselves that they are too old or too poor or not clever enough to achieve them. Turning your dreams into reality will take a degree of risk taking, and it may take giving up a fear of failure (or looking bad).

 

BIG OR BIGGER?

Many people are scared of the word ‘big’ – what if you set out to do something massive and you don’t get there? It will be okay! Play a small game with yourself (grab a notebook if you like) and ask – what are some of the wild ideas that you have had for your life? Break a world record? Climb a mountain? Run a marathon? Learn to dance? List something that has been on your ‘one day, someday, maybe’ list … is it really ‘big’ or could you do something bigger? Ask yourself what scares you about it – is it that you don’t know where to start?

Often in business it is the same – because we don’t know how to do something ‘big’ we stop dreaming or creating. So now, write something that would be ‘big’ when it comes to your business idea. At this point just have fun with it – write as many as you like; nothing is too outrageous.

 

THE CRYSTAL BALL

Knowing beforehand what you are getting into, what you really want to achieve and what your strengths are will greatly help you in your quest. There are no guarantees in business. By its very nature things will always change. We all wish we had a crystal ball and could see the future – but despite reading everything, checking every market forecast and reviewing the business press relentlessly, your success will come down to two things:

  1. Your ability to listen and respond (i.e. adapt)
  2. Your ability to trust (yourself and those around you)

Sometimes when we get knockbacks, however, they can give us the incentive we need to prove the other person wrong. I don’t know how many times I have been told ‘you can’t’, ‘you shouldn’t’ or ‘you won’t’ and in some ways that has made me more determined.

Starting your own business is about creating your own destiny and perhaps it is fulfilling your ‘calling’ – that is when your passion and purpose unite, creating an unstoppable force. However, some people start a business because they have something to prove.

Naomi Simson is the founding director of RedBalloon, and works extensively in the start-up community, with her contributions to Scale Investors, Head Over Heels and Redii.com. She is also one of the ‘sharks’ on Shark Tank, and has a substantial online presence, particularly via LinkedIn where she has more than one million followers. She is a renowned speaker and her blogs on naomisimson.com reach 100,000 people a year.

Her life is not limited to the business world. She also works in a philanthropic role as a governor for the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation and as an advisor to Voiceless. She is also the bestselling author of Live What You Love: when passion and purpose change your life, published in 2015.

 

About Naomi Simson

Naomi Simson is the founding director of RedBalloon and works extensively in the start-up community, with her contributions to Scale Investors, Head Over Heels and Redii.com. She is also one of the 'sharks' on Shark Tank, and has a substantial online presence, particularly via LinkedIn where she has more than one million followers. She is a renowned speaker and her blogs on naomisimson.com reach 100,000 people a year. Her life is not limited to the business world. She also works in a philanthropic role as a governor for the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation and as an advisor to Voiceless. She is also the bestselling author of Live What You Love: when passion and purpose change your life, published in 2015.

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