Most creatives hate hearing this phrase, at some point in my life, I felt it was pessimistic and would turn a deaf ear but I have come to appreciate it now.
A couple of years ago my sister and I came up with an idea, we set out to offer some very novel services at the time and had even started getting gigs. We were super pumped and so, we created a nice proposal to raise funds to fully launch the brand. We decided we would pitch to our uncle who was a successful businessman. We informed him we would be visiting and showed up on the day with our well-designed proposal, despite our nervousness, we discussed the services of the brand and answered questions he had about it.
He was impressed and he praised us for what we were doing. Then the 4 dreadful words came, he told us to dream big but start small, we nodded our heads like two agama lizards and listened to everything he had to say but in our hearts, we didn’t agree with his advice on taking things slow and so we whined all through the 17km drive back home. We spent about a thousand Naira on cab fare to go for this meeting and all we got was ‘Take things slow’ we were not having it. To be fair though, we probably were already opposed to his ideas considering the fact that once, we shared a different “bright” idea, he had shunned us down and we had gone home ranting about how we should have just bought doughnuts with the cab fare. We were furious because we were advised to take things slow.
That brand doesn’t exist today because proper market research was not done and as such no strategic plans were guiding it. I guess if we had taken little steps and were studying each step as we expanded, it could have turned out different. I get it when creatives are triggered and irritated with the statement because it feels like the person saying it to them doesn’t believe enough in their dreams or them but that’s the wrong way to look at it.
Dream Big, Start Small is advising you to act on your dreams in phases, and the first step is to properly understand the market and what the market wants, I mean, why create a new brand that is offering ‘x’ services when the market is only interested in ’y’ services, you need to slowly introduce the market to your ‘x’ service and study the market pulse to improve on your services. When you start small, you get to improve and tweak your idea and the output may even be bigger than what you ever dreamed of.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “there are some ideas that are too big to start small, you have to hit them with a POW” while that may be true, you still need to have some form of track record, a timeline of sorts and that often starts with what? Market Research! Everything boils down to market research. Real market research, not just you scrolling through the streets of social media and deciding ‘Hey, this is the market for me’ No, be very thorough with your research. Dream big, start small!