Starting a business is like being an architect, because you get to decide the way you build a house, where you locate it, how many floors it has, windows, you go down the list. So, since you get to decide all those things, how about making your dream come true? I mean, how about building your utopian world?
In the book Anything You Want by Derek Sivers (you can read my book notes here), there’s a chapter where he describes his utopian dream when he started CDBaby:
“I wrote down my utopian dream-come-true distribution deal from my musician’s point of view. In a perfect world, my distributor would…
- Pay me every week.
- Show me the full name and address of everyone who bought my CD. (Because those are my fans, not the distributor’s.)
- Never kick me out for not selling enough. (Even if I sell only one CD every five years, it’ll be there for someone to buy.)
- Never allow paid placement. (Because it’s not fair to those who can’t afford it.)
“That’s it! That was my mission. I liked it. It was a worthy hobby. I named it CD Baby, and put my friends’ CDs there.
“Those four points were like a mission statement. I wrote them on the site, talked about them at every conference, and made sure everyone I worked with knew them.”
What I love about this is how he made a mission statement in such a specific way. Mission statements usually end up in the unknown (maybe in the about page), but declaring your utopia — your perfect world — is key to build something around a meaning and purpose.
The thing is that you only get to build your utopian dream at the early stages of your business. Otherwise, unless you make it clear for yourself and others (this is critical), your utopia will vanish. It is so easy to forget why you started the whole thing that you can easily end up building a house you don’t actually want, just because everybody else builds it that way.
How does your perfect world look like? Go. Declare your utopia ASAP. You won’t regret it.