Make No Little Plans

For many years we’ve been pushing the idea to entrepreneurs that it’s the same amount of work to create a company that has a huge impact as it is to create a company that has a more modest impact. Impact can be defined as lives touched, jobs created, revenue generated, wealth created, or any other measure. Regardless, it requires working thousands of hours over 7-10 years to build anything successful, so it’s best to strive to make the biggest impact possible. This is even more so if the entrepreneur is going to raise money from investors and take on capital, adding pressure to create an out-sized return.

While the concept might be new to me in the last 10 years, it’s clearly been well understood historically in many different contexts. I was reminded of this recently seeing the famous Make No Little Plans on a historical sign:

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency.

Daniel Burnham, Architect and Urban Planner

Human nature is to look at the ideas directly ahead. What problem do I have right now? What idea do I care most about? While these are the logical starting point, and should be encouraged, it’s important for entrepreneurs to step (Read more...)