We all take on different projects on a daily basis, whether we think of them as “projects” or not. Home renovations, video production, marketing plans, a new product launch, even exploring a new dinner schedule for your family all have something in common: You need a success plan.

Success doesn’t mean getting it right the first time- it just means achieving your purpose, even if it takes a few tries. I’m currently working on renovating my bonus room into a home office- while at work I am developing a service re-launch and marketing plan. I realized that even though they are completely different and have different stakes, in order to succeed, every project needs these 4 elements:

1)The Right Tools

Most of us might try to use tools we already have instead of finding the right tools for the job. While that might help you cut some corners in the short term, the end result might not be the best it could be if you are not using the correct tools in order to build your project’s foundation. When applying this to video production, having the right planning, crew and equipment is essential to the right result. You wouldn’t want to use a iPhone camera to shoot your next commercial or your company’s new product sales video. Along the same lines, if you are about to paint a wall make sure you use the primer, or buy the paint that is a primer and paint in one. These small, but important details are tools that are crucial to your early success.

2) The Right Resources

When you get stuck, do you know where to go for help? This is where having the right resources becomes a do-or-die. Whether it is the video production company you are working with, or the notes you took in college about the 7 P’s of service marketing, you need a place to turn to for guidance and answers when you need them. Keep in mind that asking questions and using your resources will benefit you in the end- it’s better to ask questions and be sure of what you are doing rather than having to start all over again, or play a guessing game.

3) Clear Directions

Having a clear direction can be as simple as reading the directions that come with your new office desk, or it can be as complicated as having a professional take you through the steps of shooting, editing, and delivering your company’s video. Regardless of your project needs, make sure you have a clear sense of direction and what steps should be taken in which order. Don’t get ahead of yourself! And most importantly, keep your project’s end goal in mind. This will help provide clarity and light the path to success.

4) A Realistic Outlook

Last, but far from least, you have to be realistic about your expected project outcome. The picture on the box might look perfect, but that’s not how it always turns out, especially if you don’t follow the directions. Make sure that you’re always realistic about the effort that you put in, and the result that you will then get out of your project. I said it in the beginning of this post, and it is worth mentioning again: sometimes being realistic means knowing you will have to try more than one, and that’s ok.

No matter what your project might be, keep these four project success elements near and you’re sure to notice your project just became a little bit easier.
QUESTION: What project are you most proud of? Did you apply these four elements?