Keep Moving Forward

by Bill Backus

I love my job. I get to spend a lot of time talking to folks with big ideas. As the principal of a brand and marketing agency, I’m approached by entrepreneurs every day — passionate people who don’t know where to start. Many of them are already overwhelmed, because they’re too focused on the finish line. So, we grab a cup of jo and I ask them to start at the beginning. It’s a big question with a simple goal: get to the “why.” I’m looking for their origin story — I need to understand the circumstances that shaped their idea. Before the coffee’s run out, we’ve found the starting line and I share a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Focus on Your Passion

Albert Einstein famously said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Passion is what separates dreamers from “doers.” Ideas take work — a lot of work. You need to be prepared to work more with fewer resources to fall back on. Sure, you may think you have the next big idea, but is it something you’re willing to invest your blood, sweat and tears in? Your passion can change your world view. Passion attached to a big idea will sustain you through the long hours, time away from your family and obstacles that will inevitably cross your path. 

Do Something

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. There are more no- and low-cost resources for small-business owners than ever before. Whether you need a logo, website or support managing your social media accounts, sites like, and can get you started. No matter your budget, there are plenty of tools and resources available to get you going. We’ve used Trello, a free project management tool, for several years; while we’ve toyed with the idea of purchasing a system to manage projects, I haven’t found anything that works as well for our business. 

Keep Moving Forward

By now, you’ve probably heard from (several) people that owning a small business is just not worth it in today’s economy. They’ll blame the Internet or tell you that half of all small businesses close their doors within the first 12 months. Actually, your odds are a bit better than that; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics (, only about 20 percent of small businesses fail in year one. While, oftentimes, we’re our own worst enemy when it’s time to take the leap, you’ll cross paths with plenty of naysayers, but trust your passion and focus on taking small steps forward. 

So, there you have it — my two cents on making your idea a reality. Your passion should be the divining rod that drives every decision you make in business. Cling to that passion with a white-knuckle grip when faced with adversity. Focus on the starting line and never let limited funds become an obstacle. Embrace the challenges that come your way and just keep going. You can change the world. I believe in your dream. 

Bill Backus is principal and CBO of Backus Agency.

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