What’s Your Big Idea?
By Matt Carle, Main Ascent Business Brokers and Advisors
And what are you doing to make it happen?
Today just about everyone has an idea for a business that they want to start, or an app they want to build, or a property they want to develop. Even people who aren’t the slightest bit entrepreneurial have these kinds of ideas rolling around in their heads, thanks to shows like Shark Tank and The Profit, entrepreneurship is part of pop culture, and it’s something that everyone thinks about. Most of those ideas – probably 99% – will remain ideas. Someone comes up with an idea for a product and years later sees another business owner on Shark Tank pitching something similar, they kick themselves for weeks, but never take any action. They go on with their daily lives, daydreaming about new ideas that could change the world in some way, but never really take a step forward with any of it.
Small business owners around the country have ideas about how they could improve things in their business, how they might increase sales, decrease costs, or bring a new product into the shop that could totally change the course of their business. But most of those ideas remain ideas.
The day-to-day challenges of running a small business prevent most people from taking action on new ideas, no matter how exciting they might be. And the challenge for the entrepreneur is making time in the day-to-day to actually take steps to turn ideas into reality. Nights and weekends might be in order for a while to really make it happen, but that’s not sustainable for most people. Business needs to get done during business hours, so owners are left crunched for time, and it’s usually the big new ideas that get put on the shelf while the day-to-day grinds on.
Part of the challenge is about time management – clearing space in your calendar to do this work of turning ideas into action. Making some real out of nothing more than an idea can be a time-consuming process, so making space for it isn’t easy. But there is almost always a reward for it in the end – especially for small business owners. What could you do with two hours per week to work on your big idea? Some pretty big things, I imagine. Committing to dedicated Entrepreneurship time is crucial for any business owner. Break away from the daily task list and work on the high level projects that will have an impact on the business.
Another challenge is the mindset that might be holding us back from pursuing these great ideas. We get in our own way so often that it’s often hard to pick up new projects or start new things. Given enough time and mental energy we can talk ourselves out of almost anything, especially when it comes to starting something new. So, giving yourself permission to start new things, to test, to experiment and take on something new is critical. Often we can overcome these mental hurdles by thinking of everything as a test, an experiment. That way we’re not committing to doing anything new full-time, we’re just testing it out to see if it works. That allows us more space to experiment, to make improvements, and allow things to run over time, instead of trying to get it perfect from the start.
Then there is the matter of making sure it’s worth your time and energy. There has to be a research portion to this work – many dreams have been dashed after spending countless hours bringing an idea to life only to find out that you were the only person interested in the project. EMyth calls this “An Opportunity Worth Pursuing” – and it requires you to be brutally honest with yourself and the people around you, examining the opportunity, the potential of your idea, and being realistic about the time, energy, and resources that would be required to make your idea into a reality. But when those things check out, when your research shows you there are real opportunities at your fingertips, then it’s time to leap.
Taking that final step to start on a big project, and bringing an idea to life is a thrilling experience. There will be challenges along the way, but any idea worth pursuing will have those – it’s the price you pay for daring greatly and take a step forward in your life and your business. The question becomes how much are you willing to do to bring your idea to life?
Explore your ideas, take the time to examine them, research them, test them in real and meaningful ways. Because ideas are easy, ideas are common, but the power to turn an idea into reality is something really special. And entrepreneurs have to be ready to do just that.
So, what’s your big idea?
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