How to Make the Quantum Jump From Dreamer to Entrepreneurial Great in 2016

No one should cannonball head first into uncharted waters. Here's how to wisely take the next leap in your career.

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By Marty Fukuda


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A quantum jump is defined as an abrupt, large increase. In business, it's the sort of jump that stands out on a growth chart something fierce. It causes you to do a double take and ask, "What happened there?" This is not the type of growth that the conservative-minded looking for a modest 5 percent increase in next year's revenue ever achieve. It is punctuated equilibrium, or the opposite of uniformity -- the stuff of dreamers.

Taking a quantum jump is never easy and never by accident. If your 2016 mission is on the bold side, here are eight ways to make it happen.

Related: 5 Risks Every Entrepreneur Will Need to Take

1. Take calculated risks.

We are all aware of the basic rule of thumb in investing -- greater risk equals greater potential. Every institution looking to push the envelope is taking a risk. However, the best leaders understand the difference between a calculated risk and a foolish one. No one should cannonball or dive head first into uncharted waters. As Jim Collins coined in Great By Choice -- fire bullets, then cannonballs. Simply put, don't utilize all of your gunpowder on your first shot. Fire a test shot, or bullet, until you've calibrated the correct aim. Then, launch a cannonball. The wise aren't adverse to risk -- they just do their homework first.

2. Have a plan.

Sheer bravado will energize a team -- temporarily. A strong plan will win minds, not just hearts. Developing a well-thought-out strategy helps you visualize your future success, prepare for inevitable challenges and hone in on your best path towards success. If you don't have a plan you believe in that also makes sound strategic sense, you are not ready for explosive growth. If you do, you are off to a good start.

3. Grow personally.

With sudden growth comes more staff, suppliers, customers, etc. All those things mean additional strain on a business owner. To take a quantum jump, you must grow and increase your skill set. Picture your organization at twice its current size, and know that the challenges will be proportionate or perhaps even greater. Your team will only be as strong as you are, so get your personal house in order before expanding.

4. The entire team must be on board with fast growth.

No matter how strong you are, you won't be able to go it alone. You will invariably need help and lots of it. Discuss the growth plan and strategy with your leaders. Find out what scares them, and talk it through. Not everyone may be as certain as you that the plan will work, but they need to believe that it can. Any doubts will influence the rest of the team and erode overall confidence.

Related: Entrepreneurs Don't Have to Be Fearless, Just Brave

5. Narrow your focus.

If you're thinking about how to make a quantum jump, it's likely you have a multitude of ideas you believe can impact the business. However, even the biggest companies with the deepest pockets and seemingly endless resources struggle with trying to chase too many targets at once. Acknowledge the fact that this can't be done without cannibalizing other opportunities. Instead, ask two simple questions. What one or two initiatives will make the greatest impact? Does it fit my business?

6. Don't be limited by last year's results.

Revenue and growth charts don't always follow a smooth trajectory -- upward and downward spikes happen. The rest of the world may tell you you're not poised for massive growth. Ignore them. You know your business better than anyone else could ever hope to. If you feel the time is right, and you have the right plan in place -- go for it.

7. Remember that momentum takes time to build.

In fact, with inevitable setbacks along the way you might not get off to the start you anticipated. Prepare yourself now to mentally deal with adversity and make a commitment to stay the course, no matter what.

8. Accept that timing will never feel perfect.

f you're second guessing yourself that 2016 will be your year to make a quantum jump, rest assured that no plan or timing ever will be perfect. There's validity to the age-old wisdom, "a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow." Those who accomplish great things do so bravely and boldly.

Perhaps the biggest factors in taking a quantum jump are those one cannot easily measure. Tenacity, resolve, adaptability and inner strength are a few characteristics you'll need that don't require business school to develop. It's the stuff that separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurial greats.

Related: Discomfort Is What You Feel When You're Growing

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

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