Sharpen Your Pencil

Photo: (XE pictured, $49,000 as a kit, $59,000 factory finished)

By Mike Johnson

A key step in manifesting dreams is penciling them out to verify they will be financially viable.

This starts with simple assumptions but increases to a full-fledged business plan if you get serious.

“Winging it” is a bad start-up strategy. We started a community newspaper without a business plan and went bankrupt.

Hard knocks forced us to learn. So we researched and wrote what our banker called “the best business plan he’d ever seen” for our trolley tour business. That business was wildly successful.

Imagining and penciling out deals is great fun. The passion to see things that others do not gives purpose to an otherwise mundane life.

Playing with wild ideas is a blast. I remember toying with buying a Ferris Wheel. We’d place it in Cody City Park as a nostalgic, romantic attraction. If that worked, we’d add a carousel. What’s better than getting to own fun attractions that others pay for?

I did the same mental exercise with a helicopter when I worked 45 minutes away from home. I lived in Florida and pictured commuting over bays and mangroves in just 10 minutes, gaining the great adventure of flying to work. The exercise gave me a reason to research home-built kits, the cheapest category of helicopter choices. I even attended an experimental aircraft rally and subscribed to aviation magazines. I brainstormed dozens of ways to make the thing pay for itself. I never did spring for a whirlybird but sure enjoyed imagining it.

Ghost Town in the Sky remains one of my favorite what-ifs. The abandoned, western-themed amusement park sits on a 5,000 foot mountaintop in North Carolina. It takes a chairlift ride to get there. Logistics and low traffic put it out of business years ago. It still sits vacant today, waiting for someone to figure out how to make it financially viable.

Imagining and penciling out business ideas exercises your manifestation muscles. It makes the outlandish seem increasingly possible.

It also adds a dose of delight to a mundane Monday.

What's your wildest dream? Pencil it out!


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