How to Give Birth to a Business that Will Excite and Inspire You
Just one simple idea can make your fortune
“All the forces in the world are not as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo
The foundation of every successful business is a valuable idea.
Apple is founded on the idea of Simplicity. The Apple Macintosh introduced the world to commercial windows operating systems. Simplicity of use made the computer an overnight sensation. When Steve Jobs then designed his computers to look sensational he created an overwhelming desire to own Apple products.
The wonderful thing about ideas is that anyone can have one - yes, even you.
Why a simple idea is fundamental to a successful business
The big advantage of a simple idea is that everyone can understand it.
Great business ideas inspire and motivate the actions of everyone involved. My first real mentor Leo Burnett inspired us with the goal, “Create the best advertising in the world - bar none.” As his wife said, “Leo had that ability, like a good athletic coach, of making you do better than you thought you could.”
The business Leo founded in 1935 remains a power in the industry to this day.
How to give birth to ideas
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” John Steinbeck
There is no single pathway that gives birth to good ideas although a relaxed atmosphere certainly helps. It also helps to observe human behaviour and ask yourself, “Is there some way to make that better or easier or faster?” Observe what causes people problems or pain and find a solution.
See the problem or the pain and then just close your eyes and relax - allow your intuition to work out a solution.
Use Brainstorming Groups to develop ideas
“The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” Linus Pauling
It’s no accident that groups of people devoted to a single task become highly creative and find new ways to make progress. Ideas incubate in the hothouse of debate and discussion. They build, amplify and simplify as people search for practical ways to implement them. The NASA space agency exists to find ways to explore outer space. Government think tanks proliferate to future gaze in search of solutions.
There is nothing to stop you getting together with a few like-minded friends to search for good business ideas.
How to spot ideas that have the wings to fly
“Bring ideas in and entertain them royally, for one of them may be the king.” Mark Van Doren
Bear in mind that 90% of new product launches fail. The reason is nearly always the same - they failed to provide a valuable solution to a problem that was of concern to someone. Or perhaps they failed to provide a better solution than an existing product. It is very common for new products to over-complicate the rationale for their existence.
To know whether you have a good solution it’s a good idea to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask:
“What will this product or service do for me that will enhance my life?”
“Am I excited to use and own this product or service?”
“Can I justify the expense to own this product or service?”
Only when you can walk into a shop in your customer’s shoes and happily part with your money can you be sure that your product or service will fly.
How to piggy-back someone else’s good idea and make a fortune
“In many senses creativity, and ‘plagiarism’ are nearly indivisible.” David Shields
Many successful companies are copy-cats.
As soon as a new motor car launched it is immediately purchased by all its competitors. They tear it to pieces to discover its secrets. They then incorporate the best of its new technology into their own models. The same process is used in the mobile phone market, the breakfast cereals market and every other competitive market place from supermarkets to souks.
If you can’t come up with a good idea think of how you can make a marginal gain on an existing product.
How to check that your idea is worth pursuing
Your most important consideration is, “Does my idea excite me so much that I can’t help investing my heart and soul in it?”
Your good idea will only take off if your energy thrusts it down the runway to success. No one else will ever be powered by the same belief as the one who gave birth to the idea. You have to put your doubts and anxieties behind you and commit ALL of your energy to making your baby fly.
If you’re not 100% behind your idea - forget it.
Is this the right time or place for your idea?
“The three most important things about real estate are location, location, location.” The Van Nuys News, June 1956
Timing and location frequently influence the success of an idea. Locate your well where people are thirsty. And hold a Happy Hour when they’re likely to journey past your location.
Location and timing don’t happen by accident, they come about as a result of observing customer behaviour.
How to make your nugget of an idea sparkle with value
“Wealth flows from energy and ideas.” William Feather
Have you ever noticed the spark of enthusiasm in the eyes of someone with a great idea? It’s a sure-fire indicator that they’re deeply invested in what they’re doing. It’s a sign of the energy that burnishes their idea and makes it sparkle.
When you invest all of your enthusiasm with intelligent understanding of the problem that your product or service is solving you can’t help adding the value that creates consumer demand.
How to Finance a good idea
Money grows on good ideas.
Investors are always seeking new ways to make their money grow. They are wary of new, unproven ideas. So, if you have to borrow, only ask for the minimum you need to develop your idea. Then, when you have some proof of demand, your idea will have more value and you will be able to borrow more cheaply to finance the growth of your business.
Try to put off borrowing to finance your business until it becomes essential fertiliser for your future growth.
Grow your baby idea into a famous adult
Too much thinking and not enough action stalls most new businesses.
You need to be out there in the market place shouting about your wares. Enthusiasm is more important than quality in your early years. Know that there will be many people who want you to succeed. They will catch your enthusiasm and help you along the way.
Use your enthusiasm to spread your message like a virus
The one thing that keeps you going until you breakthrough
“Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing (now get this - is the one thing) that ensures the successful outcome of your undertaking.” William James
Unless your enthusiasms is fired by the flame of belief it can run out of steam. It is a firm foundation of belief that you are on the right track that creates the perseverance necessary to success. Belief is the shining beacon that draws you onward like a moth to a flame. With belief, you will keep going until you achieve your goal.
Belief is the acid test. Do you believe passionately in your business idea?
How to turn your idea into a raging torrent of income
“All riches have their origin in mind. Wealth is in ideas - not in money.” Robert Collier
Your core idea needs to be built upon in order to grow a business.
Practice building ideas in clusters. You should look upon your business idea as being like a rock to which idea limpets attach themselves. You need a marketing idea limpet, a finance idea limpet, a product development idea limpet, an employee idea limpet etc.
The idea for Apple products is “simple for anyone to use.” The next limpet is eye-appeal, they are beautifully designed. The next limpet is kudos, the annual Cupertino new product presentations kick off a yearly spike in demand.
Think of yourself as an idea incubator.
Continuous improvement makes good ideas sustainable
“There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.” Michael Eisner
Feedback tells you what you need to improve.
People tend to think of feedback as something that happens in annual reviews or research projects or team meetings. But that’s only a minor part of how to mine feedback. As a small business with ambition you should be continually listening to what your customers say. Listen when they complain, when they praise, when they talk about your business. Notice not just the words, but also the body language, the non-verbal clues.
Become a feedback addict and you’ll know where to direct your effort.
It’s time now to start working on your big idea.
Start looking at what causes people pain or aggravation?
What do people complain about that needs fixing - customer care centres? Lending rates? Poor service? Late running transportation? Overcrowding?
There are so many opportunities out there for the creative dreamer to solve.