Make No Little Plans

I receive an inspirational email every day from the Napoleon Hill Foundation. This one really spoke to me. I hope it brings you encouragement as well:


(Napoleon Hill)

Daniel Burnham, the turn-of-the-century architect and civic planner whose plan for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair had an enormous influence on contemporary civic design, was quoted as saying,  “Make no little plans.”  He knew that to achieve great things we must have grand ideas. If you can imagine it, you can create it. And if you can create in your imagination the job that you would like to have, it is possible to create it in the real world.

How grand are your ideas? Are you re-creating your job or your business, with a better future in mind, or trudging through the year hoping someone else will do something to improve your situation?

There wouldn’t have been an 8-cylinder engine if Henry Ford had given up on his dream when his engineers said it couldn’t be done. How long might it have taken NASA to get to the moon if John Kennedy hadn’t insisted that it be done in a certain time frame, even though the technology didn’t exist at the time?

Make No Little Plans. Dream – Dream BIG. Your job—or your business—will never be any bigger than your imagination makes it.


Wal-Mart Reconnaissance

John Nottingham and his business partner, John Spirk – a pair of 50-ish guys from Cleveland, Ohio – spend a lot of time in what they call “Wal-Mart Reconnaissance.” It’s a pastime that has brought them 464 patents and more than $30 billion in sales.

Their success is based on a simple process: find the things ordinary people use every day and make them better. The team invented things like the Sherwin-Williams Twist-and-Pour paint can that saves us from blobs of unintentional color on our otherwise neutral carpeting, and the Crest SpinBrush – the bestselling electric toothbrush on the market.

I heard about them through a profile on NBC news.

The Nottingham-Spirk story makes it clear that a bit of innovation and creative thinking can change an “ordinary” product or service into something extraordinary and wildly popular. Increased function or ease of use equate to higher value and desirability, which leads to increased sales.

Incorporating “Wal-Mart Reconnaissance” into your business might involve:

•  finding and expanding a niche area overlooked or underutilized by your competition
•  developing collaborative partnerships with industry-relative but non-competitive businesses
•  reworking the content and design of your websites, blogs, or brochures

Do your prospects and clients view you as “extraordinary”?  If you’re not sure, it may be time for a trip to Wal-Mart.