As a self-confessed opportunity junkie, I’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about new business ideas. Most of the time an idea only takes hold long enough for me to think how wonderful it would be if I could (“insert random idea of the day”)… Sometimes though, an idea actually gets some glue and I’ll spend even more time envisioning how to turn the dream into reality. I’m sure we’ve all done that, but actually navigating an idea from your imagination to the real world can be a daunting task to even consider.
I heard an old rock ‘n roll song the other day that inspired me to write about this topic. It was one of those songs that I sing along to, without really thinking about the words. The Eagles said it so eloquently: “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains – and we never even know we have the key.” Personally, the “key” for me was to get off my butt, stop daydreaming and GET MOVING.
Here are some suggestions to help you get your own head out of the clouds:
1. Make an Official Road Map. Obviously, you already know where point “A” is. Point “A” is that idea rattling around in your brain looking for a way to see the light of day. This is true whether it’s your own original idea, or someone else’s business model that you’re considering for yourself. Now think about where you ultimately want to go on this entrepreneurial expedition. There will be several required points of interest along the way, and you may not even realize where all the pit stops are going to be, but recording your idea in writing is a great way to map out a plan of action. It will be your compass and provide you with a logical sequence of steps to get you where you want to go.
2. K.I.S.S. If you’re not familiar with that acronym, it means Keep It Simple Stupid (umm… not that I’m implying that you’re stupid – but you get the idea). Don’t obsess over making every little aspect of your business perfect, because at this point it’s impossible to even know what that should be. Focus instead on how you can make your primary product or service desirable to your customer – the rest can be fine-tuned later. Remember that nothing is set in stone. At this stage of the process (or any stage, for that matter) you can always change what doesn’t work, or tweak what does.
3. Use the tools in your toolbox. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to invest money in brand new equipment, especially if you already have the tools to get the job done. Too often I see people get caught up in the mindset that they must squirrel away a ton of money to purchase brand new computers, printers and other office equipment. Or worse – those who think they must give wads of cash to hungry web designers for flashy, expensive websites. To keep your costs low, think about using what you already have and save your hard-earned resources for legitimate start-up necessities. The bells and whistles will come down the road.
4. Take the First Step. When starting a business (or even a major project) one reason it’s so difficult to get started is because there are just so many tasks demanding your attention. It can be positively overwhelming when the whole enchilada is staring you in the face. But I’ll tell you this – nothing will happen unless you take the first step. Splash some hot sauce on that son-of-a-gun and take a bite. For Pete’s sake, just pick something simple, like identifying who your target market will be. That should be easy enough, and you’ll feel terrific for taking action toward making something actually happen. Overcome your analysis paralysis… When you begin to take those initial steps, pretty soon you’ll gain some momentum.
5. Get the word out. Talk about your new business and let people know you’re starting. Nothing gets your engine revving faster than talking about a new business with friends, family and other acquaintances. Not only will it make your new business more of a reality for you, but it also invites questions and answers from others that offer invaluable marketing insights. In fact, when I started my judgment recovery business, talking about it with others is exactly how I landed several of my first assignments. I swear – people were throwing the stuff at me. And then would you just look at that… I was started.
What’s stopping you?
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