Many of us have ideas in our heads, tucked away for many years, waiting for the perfect time to pursue them. The perfect time is NOW.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. -Chinese Proverb
Often though, it’s not about WHEN to start but HOW to start. Here are 4 things you can do today to get started on your idea.
1. Write your idea down
People are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals when they write them down. Ideas are no different. The first step to kickstarting your idea is to write down all of your thoughts and hypotheses.
We recommend using a tool called the Business Model Canvas to help you organize your thoughts. The BMC is a map with all the hypotheses related to your idea. It covers various business functions and encourages constant iteration.
- Use a separate sticky note for each unique thought relating to your idea.
- Treat each thought as a hypotheses, not a fact. Test these hypotheses by customer interviews (AKA talking to people).
- When your idea changes, so should your stickies.
2. Talk to people about your idea
The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream. -Les Brown
In order to test your hypotheses written down on your Business Model Canvas, you have to get out of the building and talk with people. Each interview, discussion, email is a step towards validating or invalidating one of your sticky notes.
No one is going to steal just an idea because no one cared about your idea more than you do. Ideas are a dime a dozen and most ideas suck. You will have no way of knowing if you’re idea is going to change the world if you do not speak to everyone you know about it.
If your idea have intellectual property, you can still speak about your idea, just do not share the intricate details of your system.
3. Become an expert in your ideas field
An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field. -Niels Bohr
If you have an idea to improve the lives of (insert anyone). Then you need to become an expert in understanding how (insert anyone) works, lives, breaths, etc. You have to understand all aspects of your idea and over time become an expert in the field.
You become an expert through your mistakes and failures. Make risky decisions and fail fast. The faster you fail, the faster you can recover and continue onward. This is what makes a person an expert.
Reading is good, action is better. -Eric Ries
As you learn through experience and create your idea, document your findings. Over time, this knowledge will show credibility, and help others looking to get into the same field.
4. Search for the right team
This is one of the hardest steps in turning an idea into a full fledged business. The number 1 reasons startups fail is “No Market Need”, this risk can be reduced as you speak and understand your customers via the process described above. But the number 2 reason startups fail is “Not the right team”.
Finding the right team has a formula of it’s own. Teammates need to be people you get along with. Your co-founder should be someone you would metaphorically marry, you’re going to be spending a LOT of time with them. Your team needs to compliment one another and skills should be diverse.
As you talk to more and more people about your idea, you will make new relationships. These relationships over time can create amazing teams.
Go to networking events and follow up with people you met. Once you find someone you think you’d work well with, test it out! Do some work together, see if your work styles mesh well together.
As you talk to more and more people about your idea, it will seem as if you are getting lucky. You’re not, rather you are purposefully creating a network of people that can help you each step of the way. Your network is the most important tool you have on your journey to develop your idea into something great! It is your job, as the owner/founder of the idea to best use the network to achieve your goals.