The first step is having an idea. It’s the second step that matters.

We’ve all had business ideas.

That flash of lightning, or moment of insight.

A spark of genius when the stars aligned and the entire universe seemed to have conspired to place the perfect business idea in the just right mind (yours!) at precisely the right time.

Now, if you read entrepreneurial books, blogs and articles, or attend startup events as often as I do, you’ll have no doubt heard by now that ideas are cheap.

Anyone can have a good idea.

Some of us will even have great ideas.

That’s not the important bit.

What is important is what comes next.

What do you do with that idea to help bring it to life?

Most people do nothing.

About this time last year my co-founder and I had an idea that we both thought was pretty great. Namely, developing an elegant, efficient way to match people to jobs based on their innate traits and attributes. We were tired of being pigeon-holed based on what we’d already done in our careers. As we spoke to friends we found that our experience was not uncommon. In fact, sadly, it was probably the norm.

Next…we decided to do something about it. With DO being the operative word.

(In fact, ‘do’ is my word of the year for 2016. If you want to know more about choosing your ‘word of the year’ check out Dr Jason Fox here and here.)

We started pretty small.

We researched all the latest studies and theory on employee engagement and job success.

We built some online surveys using free tools so we could collect more data.

But, most importantly, we talked to people about our idea.

We spoke to former colleagues who felt stuck in their careers.

We spoke to business owners and hiring managers to understand what frustrated them about recruiting new staff.

We spoke to recruiters about the challenges they face throughout the hiring process.

Basically, we spoke to anybody who would listen to us!

What happened next really surprised us. People loved our idea. Even better, they wanted to know what they could do to help. A few months later skillfox was born.

One of the highlights for us so far this year was being selected as a finalist in the BSchool Idea Nation pitch night in late May. After applying unsuccessfully for the 2015 event it was a real buzz being chosen alongside four other great young businesses. There were so many positives to take away from the experience, not the least of which was getting the benefit of time with BSchool mentors Ryan Trainor and Peter Williams. You can read more about our Idea Nation prep and key takeaways here.

Bottom line: we’re glad that we had the guts to apply again after being rejected last year.

It’s still super early days for us and it often feels like we’re miles away from having a sustainable business…but we’re learning something new every day. One of the key lessons that we’ve learned to date, which was reinforced by both Ryan and Peter, is to always remember to be ourselves. Be authentic. Tell our story.

We hope that we can do this well enough for long enough to make skillfox the business that we know it can be. In the process, we’re excited to help others find the kind of engaging, purposeful work that they know is out there waiting for them.

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