Developing ideas

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea? The type that keeps you awake long into the morning and won’t let you sleep until you’ve figured out how you’re going to put it into practice? You are not on your own.

Everybody has ideas, however, it is how you go about developing them that really makes a difference. This is not to say that you can’t start developing an idea whilst staring at your ceiling at three in the morning, but perhaps there are better ways of exploring what you are going to do and how you are going to implement it. It is also important to remember that everyone has there own way of developing ideas. Yet, there are a few things that each individual should think about whilst going through this process.

1. Understand your idea – This might sound strange, but understanding your idea is key. Write down your initial thoughts regarding what your idea is, and then do research on it.

You might find that other people have had the same ideas as you too, however, you know you could improve what they are doing, or come up with a more effective way of putting the idea into practice. Likewise you could find that nobody has thought of the idea before, in which case you need to start asking yourself who is your idea going to benefit, how are you going to reach them and what questions can you ask to really discover if the idea is viable or not.

2. Test it out – Once you really understand what your idea is, create an action plan and test it out. The only way that you are really going to know if something is viable or not is if you put it into practice.

Before you can test out your idea, you need to know what is necessary for you to achieve or gain before this is viable. Perhaps you need funding, or equipment, or maybe even a test audience. Make a list and find as much as you can before starting with the testing process. You want to make it as near to the real thing as possible, otherwise during the analysis process you may be inclined to use the missing things as explanations for problems when it might not be the case.

3. Know how to analyse success and failure – After you have tested out your idea, you will have a much deeper knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Use this to your advantage.

Just because things may have gone wrong during the tester, don’t get disheartened. Learn from the mistakes that you made and find ways to improve them when putting together the finalised version of your idea. You may go through a longer testing process than this, trying out different things until something works, or you might find that it went pretty well the first time around and you just have to be clearer on what you want. Regardless, use it as a learning experience and keep going.

Negotiating Optimism and Realism in Business

When you first start a business, beyond the fear of failure and it’s repercussions (socially, financially and mentally), you believe that your idea will pull you through the entrepreneurial maze. Regardless of what the statistics say, you like to think that yours will be one of the businesses that succeed. After all, if you thought otherwise you wouldn’t have started, right?

Starting a business is not easy. As such, optimism is a fantastic quality in any entrepreneur, especially when things aren’t going the way that you planned for them to. However, if you have unrealistic expectations for your business, it can be hard to negotiate your optimism and energy with reality. Often this can lead to lots of disappointment and skipping ahead when you haven’t laid the groundwork for what you are doing properly.

It’s important to realisethat once you’ve optimistically skipped ahead, it’s harder to go back as you want to keep progressing forwards, not falling backwards. Thus, as enthusiastic and optimistic as you are, you need to be grounded in the reality of here and now from day one.

This might sound incredibly difficult. Everyone has big dreams for their businesses, but growth doesn’t happen in day. If you look back to our blog post on effective goal setting this might give you a better idea on how to plan out your longer term goals (the exciting things thatyou want to skip ahead to!) and the shorter term goals (the things that youneed to do in order to get the exciting stuff!) and help you to more effectively measure your impact and the success of what you are doing. Having consistent meetings, deadlines, and impact reports will help to keep your mind focused onthe reality of the day-to-day whilst helping you to build towards the future that you believe in.

Like Eleanor Roosevelt said –“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”