There is always a goal driving people when they decide to start a their own business. My goal might be lofty, not yet clearly defined, and more of a dream than anything else, but that goal has to be there. The dream I had was important because it was how I planned to change the world and while I wasn’t entirely certain how I was going to do it, I knew what direction my path was heading in. That goal is important because once you step off on that path and start a business; it can be easy to forget that world changing vision that held in your head because running a business is complex. Because of that, when you take a major step forward in accomplishing your original goal, it is important to take step back and reflect on what it took to get there. For me, that day occurred last week when we made our Tactical Analysis Level I class available online.
In the two years I’ve been building my business, there have absolutely been some successes, but getting this course online is unique in my eyes. As I think back to when I first decided to start my company after serving in the Combat Hunter program, I saw what I wanted to change. I saw how the program was changing the way Marines patrolled overseas, and I talked to Marines that we taught after they came back from deployment. I saw first hand how much more capable they were at identifying an enemy attempting to blend in with everyone else after having taken the course. The power of the program wasn’t all that I came to realize though. I knew that the number of Marines who weren’t getting trained in the program was a lot higher than the number of Marines who were getting trained. I knew that the number of Marines who wanted to come through the course but couldn’t get a seat was greater than the number of students we were able to put through a course. I knew that there were a lot of police officers that were requesting the program, but couldn’t get a course designed specifically for them. I knew that there were a lot of people that wanted to learn how to make behavioral observations that could potentially save their life, but had no way to actually learn them. I knew that I wanted to build a company that offered that, but I also knew that I would have to do it a little differently than the way everyone else was offering training.
The first goal that I had for the company was to do everything in my power to ensure that anyone driven enough to learn how to read and analyze human behavior would have access to the resources they needed to do so. I realized that this couldn’t be accomplished by only offering training in person but would have to leverage technology to get the material out there to a wider audience. I started with the Combat Profiling blog and as I slowly wrote article after article about the various observations, the science behind the behaviors and different methods to apply the techniques on the street. The blog morphed into The CP Journal as we added a quarterly magazine and video practice segments. But while I was beginning to get more readers into the site, I saw that I wasn’t doing enough to actually teach a new reader how to observe human behavior. The problem that I ran into was that many of these articles and videos were written for people who had already attended a class, not necessarily those who hadn’t been taught the material yet. I knew that if I was going to accomplish my goal, I had to get my entire program online. As of last week, the first significant piece of being able to teach anyone interested in learning was completed when the course became available. Now, anyone who wants to go through the Tactical Analysis level I course can do so and they don’t have to wait for me to run an open-enrollment course in a city near them.
This first piece of my dream – the online program – took me longer to accomplish than I originally thought it would, but I’m okay with that. Learning how to run a business takes time, and I wasn’t about to put a product out there that I wasn’t proud of. Will the way that the Level I course looks today be the same way as it looks in a year, or even in six months? Absolutely not. The online Tactical Analysis program is built to be adapted, improved and refined, so I know that it is going to change, and I look forward to that. These changes will be improvements to an existing product, not the creation of a new one and because of that, I can now turn my attention to my next goal, getting the rest of the program online.
I titled this post “Remembering The Trigger” because along the path of building a business, the goals that you originally set out with can get fuzzy. This is partly due to the fact that I might define my vision differently depending on who I am talking to. For instance, when I am talking to people in a business setting who might not know exactly what I teach, I talk about building an online program so that I can scale my offerings and transition my courses from a service (which require my personal involvement during the entire sales and delivery process) into a good (which don’t require a great deal of my time once the course and marketing is built). When I talk to people with financial backgrounds, I’ve found myself explaining the drive to build an online program because it will offer “passive income” and “recurring cash flow with very small marginal costs.” I’ve talked to people who are mentors to me and explained that my goal is to learn and master this type of business model. Before I walk away (if I ever do), I want to have built, grown, and sustained an online education platform that employs a knowledge abundance and social media based marketing strategy. None of these explanations are inaccurate or false, but they also aren’t how I define the original goal I had in my mind. All of these explanations tie into my original intent and are other things that I want to accomplish along the way, but I never forgot what I set out to do.
Online learning certainly isn’t for everyone. But for those passionate about being a professional warrior and committed to learning more about their field, I hope that you find the material on the site beneficial. It’s not just about getting left of bang; it’s about staying there.