“Dad, can we have a Halloween party?”

Sure. But you have to plan it.


Start from the beginning. First, pick a date. Then consider the guest list and budget.

“A budget?”

Yes, it’s the thing that helps pay for the party. For example, what are people going to eat?

“I don’t know, hamburgers and hot dogs?”

Right. So we need to know how many of those things to buy to accommodate the guests. That requires money. Money that your mom and me have to fork over. I’m going to help you out and say that the budget is $200.

“Is that enough?”

It has to be. Now that you know the budget, you know how many people you can feed. And don’t forget about all the other stuff that you have to get with the budget.

“Like what?”

Plates. Napkins. Charcoal. Everything. Ok, I won’t include the cost of electricity in your budget, or rent for the venue, I’ll flip for that.

“Ok so date, guest list, and budget—then what?”

Then you create the invitations and get them out as soon as possible so that your friends can put the party into their schedule. After that, make a shopping list of everything you need to throw the party. The food. The decorations. The charcoal. Everything. And don’t forget to stay within budget.

[heavy sigh] “Then what?”

Then you shop for the things on your list, put up the decorations, get the house ready, and do anything else that has to be done in advance of the party.

“Well this is a little crazy isn’t it? What else?”

Then have the party.


Oh, but don’t forget you’ll have to cater to your guests during the party, and there’s the clean up afterward.

“Maybe I’ll just see if anyone else is having a party.”


As entrepreneurs, it’s natural to get excited when we’re struck with a great idea. The trick is keeping everything in perspective. The best idea in the world plucked from the lake of genius is worthless without a strategy.

Fortunately, strategies are fairly formulaic. You can apply a strategy to virtually any concept to see that concept to fruition.

Only, most entrepreneurs I’ve known would rather hit the ground running. GO GO GO they say. THERE’S A HUGE AUDIENCE OUT THERE JUST WAITING TO KNOW ABOUT THIS IDEA.

And there may well be. But when you rush an idea from inception to birth, you’re doing an injustice to the idea, and yourself.

80% of all new businesses fail within the first year. And the numbers don’t get much better in the first five years when 50% more fail.

There are a lot of theories as to why this happens, but planning, strategy, and execution are almost always the core culprits.

There’s a school of thought in business that says “revenue solves all ills.” If you’ve got money rolling in, everything’s great, right? So slap a brand together, hire some salespeople, and get out there! Here’s a great link if you think this is the best way to do business.

No, before the sales start rolling in, you’re going to need to take a breath.

You need to think about budgets, branding, manufacturing, marketing, purchasing, research and development, accounting, the list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming if you’re not careful.

Which is why breathing is so important.

Start big with the idea, then get small. Take some baby steps first.

Who knows, after thinking through things you may decide that it’s not such a great idea after all. And believe me, realizing this early on is a blessing. But more than likely, a comprehensive strategy session at the outset will make you even more excited about your idea. Now you have a plan in place to see it come to life.

All you have to do now is follow the plan. And that’s when the real fun starts.




The Artist's Eye

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.