As an entrepreneur and strategist, I consistently come up with new ideas and projects driven by problems in my environment. I find solutions and opportunities that may be missed by others. I just always think of ways to make things better. The annoying thing is the majority of them lie within my personal/ professional interests, and I know I won’t be bored working on them.
However, I have also come to realise that I have limited time, energy and most importantly resources such as workforce and financial backing to develop all these good ideas at the same time. So if you are like me, you might be wondering what to do with all this amazing and ground-breaking ideas for now.
Don’t beat yourself up; you are not alone. Most aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs are typically like this through to being ambitious. However, being able to know how and what to do with them will help greatly. This advice contained in this article should help you focus better and learn to say no at the right time. They are also applicable to the day-to-day running of your life; when you have too many tasks to accomplish, and you don’t have enough energy to do all simultaneously.
Note All Ideas Down
Get a notebook to write all ideas down, leave 1 or 2 pages to expand each idea. Or better yet, download Evernote / Google Keep or alternative app from the app store to note ideas while on the move. Ideas can continually be reviewed and critiqued through these mediums. Once work commences on an idea, archive it away in using cloud storage such as Google Drive, Skydrive or Dropbox.
Follow Your Guts
Which idea do you feel most strongly about, that’s the one you should pick. Our intuition is often our guardian angel and a way of God communicating with us. Listen to it, pray and hope it works out with the right actions.
Set selection criteria to determine readiness to launch ideas such as excitement, passion, skills, talent, growth, and resources such as time, money, workforce and network. Also, consider is the idea a real problem solver; does it create or add value to its target market; difficult to copy; and can money be from you and other stakeholders such as employees and investors.
Conduct a toothbrush test – will the idea be used once, twice a day and most importantly make your life better? – Says Larry Page Co-founder of Google. Which idea do you discuss most with family, friends, colleagues, potential partners, investors and even customers? You might also think of potential customer’s current high pain points, low entry barrier, high price or margin, and finally big market size. Are they strong enough to have a viable business with economies of scale?
Analyse internal and external environment of idea utilising tools such as PESTEL (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Environmental & Legal); SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat); and also Competitor Analysis using Porter Five Forces to examine enablers and inhibitors of any idea.
Once you are satisfied with the result of the environmental analysis, start work on it immediately. Some successful entrepreneurs have advised that over analysing idea may lead to “analysis paralysis” which is crippling to the creative process. It’s better just to start, test, learn from mistakes rather than wait till idea is perfected before launching.
Test idea and define Metrics to Determine Success
Create realistic metrics and timelines to achieve success on chosen idea after selection. For example, opening a smoothie business, a metric could be 100 orders in the first month of launching, consistent over the next three months. If metrics is not achieved, you can either drop the idea or think of other tools to ensure parameter is reached such as incorporating social media marketing. It’s your idea; you decide what happens. You can also choose to move on to another noted idea.
Focus on great ideas which will create immediate cash flow
Pareto Law advice that 20% effort, should bring 80% productivity and return; rather than 80% effort with only 20% productivity or return yielded. Eliminate good ideas for great ideas. In other words, which idea has the highest potential to produce the most return with all energy focused on it right now? That’s the one which requires immediate attention as the cash flow generated can be used to nurture other ideas.
Long Term Commitment
If you were not being paid, which one will you willingly work on for the rest of your life and not loose passion over? The idea which feels least like a job or a chore and you will still have fun in the process.
On a final note, try and find a way to focus on the idea you are most passion about through environmental analysis, resources to execute, direct cash flow as a return and with least risk.
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