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I had the pleasure of speaking with Emily Miller, founder and CEO of OffLimits, a brilliant cereal, toy and animation brand inside our portfolio of companies at Flagstaff Ventures. Her podcast interview on The Burleson Box launches next week. Be sure to check it out wherever you consume podcasts.

She had some really interesting advice about doing big things. She said, “You almost need to be delusional going into a big new thing. If you knew how hard it was going to be, I think people would feel a lot more paralyzed to do it.”

Emily leveraged her creative fashion design background and experience in the hospitality industry to launch a brilliant breakfast club, which led to a book deal with Phaidon, for whom she wrote the bible of breakfast cookbooks, Breakfast: The Cookbook. After years of creative brainstorming, she launched OffLimits and is now distributed nationwide in Target, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and many independent grocery stores.

She offers such brilliant advice in her interview and I’m excited to share it next week, but for now a nice thought exercise and question for the leaders in your business is to ask and thoughtfully consider how much you think you know going into a new endeavor, a new market, product line or specialty.

When we added pediatric dentistry, we tried to go somewhere without a ton of competition so we could learn without the downward pressure on price or high financial hurdles of trying to replicate a peer who has been in the market for decades. Inside of a thriving orthodontic practice, we simply asked the parents if they would also prefer to have their child’s teeth cleaned and pediatric dental care under the same roof. Over a third of the patients said “Yes, please!” So, we set about tackling this big task of peeling ourselves away from many of our top referral sources and instead positioning ourselves as the one place to go for busy moms who wanted to take great care of their kids’ teeth.

And we needed a healthy dose of ignorance an delusion in order to take the first step. 

Too often, especially for healthcare providers who tend to embrace perfectionism, we want to know every step of the process before we get started. In a search for hedging (or trying to eliminate) risk, we want to see the entire road map before saying yes to a new opportunity. In reality, all we need is compass pointing us in the general direction so that we can take the first step and leave our position of comfort, going boldly into the unknown.

If you want to do big things and you don’t think you have all the answers figured out yet, that’s exactly where you should be. Don’t ignore that butterfly feeling in your gut. Lean into it.


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