Think Globally, Act Locally

I probably heard the term ‘think globally, act locally’ for the first time when I was in grade school and I believe it had something to do with cleaning up the environment. The idea is simple and effective when it comes to cleaning up the environment. You set a goal of having the whole world clean, but since you can’t do it all yourself you focus on your local region and encourage others around the world to do the same. If everyone cleans up their area eventually the whole world is clean. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this phrase holds true for many other things in life including business. This thought occurred to me when I started thinking about what made some people successful and others not and the more I talked to people the more I started to realize that even the most successful people start small, set reachable goals and get big as time allows. 

Here are a couple of examples:

A while back a friend of mine and I started buying stuff at local auctions and selling it on Ebay. We didn’t make a ton of cash, but we made a little extra money and it was kind of a fun/cool little part time job. After about six months of doing this another friend of ours and I were talking and he said he would love to get in on this with us. As we talked he started overwhelming me. By the time our conversation ended he had us renting warehouse space, buying laptops and blackberries and hiring multiple employees. Our operation, up until then, was small, simple and successful. As I said we didn’t make much money, but at the time it was started we were testing the waters and our planned growth was small. This new person wanted to take us from being a small part time operation to being a huge company as fast as possible. He wanted us to buy a couple of trucks and get started in the next few weeks. He was already talking about getting office/warehouse space and he had never even been to an auction.

Another example also involves a friend of mine. She has recently graduated college and has a cool idea for a business. She wants to build a website that will help her get some business, but that will mostly serve as her online presence where people can learn more about her and her business. The business is real world based, not online so the site doesn’t need to do a lot. I talk to her about it and she tells me she has a friend that does Flash design work who is willing to do a cool site design for her at a very good price. Great, we lay out a plan and get her a good idea of what the site will be. Two weeks later when I see her again she is overwhelmed by it. The designer has her adding on Cold Fusion databases, interactive menus, shopping carts and all kinds of stuff. Some of these things may come in handy down the road, but they aren’t needed now or any time in the near future. He wants to make her the shark of the pond before she is even a guppy.

Both cases illustrate the think globally ideal perfectly. They have an idea and they dream big, but they don’t stop to think of what it will take to get to that point and ultimately many of these types of projects fail. If you work for months on end on something and see no return on your investment of time/money and you find yourself no closer to a finished product, it can be frustrating and cause you to eventually abandon the project or scale it down. Either way you take three big steps forward only to take two back. You thought globally, but you failed to act locally and it cost you. Think of it like trying to climb a ladder with only the bottom and top steps. You can’t climb a 10 foot ladder without all the steps in the middle. The top step is the global vision; the middle steps are the local action that will help you achieve that vision.


The first step to achieving your big goal is to layout what your big goal is. Define what you would ultimately like to achieve. Make sure to note the details and be realistic. If your goal is to build up a TGP so that it gets 100K visitors a day you will also want to define how you get those visitors. Will they be bookmarkers or will they come from search engines or do they come from link trades? Maybe they come from a combination of all three. Having specific details about what you want to achieve will better serve you as you lay out your smaller (local) plans to make this happen.


You now have a global vision for your project so your ladder has two steps in it. You are on the bottom step and you need to build the steps to help you reach the top step. My suggestion is to now sit and brainstorm up everything you can think of that you will need to do in order to accomplish this goal. Let’s take the previous example of building a TGP that gets 100K visitors a day. You can think of some basic stuff right off the top. You will need to buy a domain and get hosting if you don’t already have it. Design the site. Get galleries for it. Get a traffic trading script (if you plan to use one). Perhaps get other types of tgp software. If you are going to take submissions you will need a script to do that. If you want to give out partner accounts you will need a script that can handle that. If you want the site to run and update automatically that is another script. Some of these functions might be done by the same script so you will need to find that out. You will need traffic sources and search engine optimization. So on and so on, you get the picture. You may also have a timeframe you want to accomplish this project in which will need to be taken into account. As you can see, if you want this project to succeed you will need more than just a site you throw a few galleries up on.

Once you have your brainstormed list you can sit down and work out specifics and start to put them in order. Some things will have to come first. You will need hosting and a domain before you can do anything else so those things would be at the top of your list. From there you need to prioritize your list and see what comes next. If you are working within a timeframe you will now have to make some decisions as to how long these things will take you and if you need outside help with any of them. Can you design it yourself? If you can’t or won’t have the time you will need to find a designer. That adds another step. If you are taking submissions from people where will get them? This could take some time to figure out. Some of these scripts can be tough to install and setup so you might be better off paying someone to do that for you. All of these things need to be planned out ahead with time and/or money budgeted for them. No detail is too small or large to leave out. One thing many people forget to budget for (be it money or time) is the learning curve of software. Some site management scripts can take some time to get used to and learning to operate them can be a challenging. You will want to make sure you give yourself enough time to learn what you need to learn as you go. You might be surprised what you could forget if you don’t have it in your plan.


You now have a detailed list of everything you have to do. You have the timeframe set and your budget lined up. You can now take these items and use them to construct your ladder. Each item is a step on the ladder. If you are working within a timeframe you might find scheduling software to be helpful. Outlook has a good calendar in it. I prefer Mozilla’s Sunbird ( which is a nice free scheduler/calendar. It has some nice features and is easy to use. Plug the different things you need to achieve into the spots on your ladder and you will see your project coming to life. Give yourself small goals to reach so you achieve success along the way. Maybe the first goal of the project will be to get the site built, up and running. Then the next step is to get the traffic trades in place and get some traffic to the site. The third step is to get more submissions so you have plenty of new galleries to list each day. The fourth step is to buy traffic so your site grows and so on. With each little success you get one step closer to achieving your ultimate goal.

Once everything is done you will have reached your top step and realized your global vision. If you look back on the project you can clearly see how you took an idea and made it become a reality. If you had just sat down one day and said, “I’m starting a TGP and it will get 100K a day.” Then started working on it with no planning chances are at some point you would have gotten lost in the project and ended up either shelving it or having it not be near the success you would have liked it to be. By planning things out and acting in small little steps you gave yourself small goals to achieve on your way to getting to the big one. You cleaned up your yard, then your local park, then your city and eventually the globe.




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