Have you heard of “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome”? It’s when the lure of a new creative idea pulls you, helpless, away from whatever you’re doing. New ideas are sexy, full of promise and potential. They haven’t proved difficult or demanding and they haven’t yet asked us to compromise. Who wouldn’t want to ditch the hard work and hassle of turning an idea into an actual finished product for something so shiny and pretty?
But here’s the thing. Businesses aren’t built upon ideas, because without action, they mean nothing. Yes, we need to dream and create – every entrepreneurial venture depends upon it – but we also need to DO.
As a reformed dreamer (I am a Pisces after all), I’d like to share 5 strategies that will help you embrace your inner ‘doer’ and make sure your best ideas make it into the world.
1) Define your business model
I know, I know, business models don’t, at first blush, sound at all creative or sexy, but bear with me. Let’s start by clarifying what I mean by the term. This HBR article described a business model as “at heart, stories — stories that explain how enterprises work. A good business model answers Peter Drucker’s age-old questions, ‘Who is the customer? And what does the customer value?’ It also answers the fundamental questions every manager must ask: How do we make money in this business?”
So let’s break that down:
Who is your customer and what do they value?
Being very clear on your ideal customer profile is the foundation of every successful business. If you’re still not sure who your customer is, check out my article for the Freelancer’s Union. You’ll be crystal clear in no time (and get new marketing language to boot!).
How do you make money in your business?
You’ve probably heard the saying “If your business isn’t making money, it’s just an expensive hobby”. Ouch! And while success isn’t ALL about money, we need to let go of the idea that money and art are mutually exclusive. Why shouldn’t you be compensated extremely well for your creativity and expertise?
Got a new idea? Ask yourself how you expect it be profitable and what will be required of you to make it so. If it doesn’t stack up, put it aside for now and move on.
2) Get clear on the services you offer
In the early days of my business, I read an article by Seth Godin that changed my thinking entirely. He said that most entrepreneurs fail because they launch a business and then look for customers to buy what they’re selling. What we need to do is figure out who our ideal client ua and then create products or services they want or need. Brilliant!
When it comes to creating your services or product, narrow it down to a few offerings you know your ideal clients need and you’re uniquely equipped to offer. When you provide a perfect service for a real need, you won’t have to “sell” anything (bonus!)
So let’s take a fresh look at the new idea you have? Does it fall outside of your edited suite of services? If the answer is ‘yes’ shelve it for the time being and keep perfecting what you do offer.
3) Establish goals for your business and life
A couple of times a year I spend some time reviewing my current goals and creating new ones. Goals are a fantastic business tool because they satisfy the dreamer and the doer. They inspire the dreamer in us to come up with new ideas and services that enable us to stretch and grow (key in small business). And checking off goals we accomplished makes the doer feel really good.
4) Keep an ideas notebook
Just because an idea doesn’t work right now, doesn’t mean it won’t ever. Businesses evolve and so do opportunities to make ideas happen. Keep dreaming and record your ideas in a notebook. The benefit of time and distance give you valuable perspective that will likely make the outcome much better.
5) Use reminders to keep you on track
I’m a big fan of the post-it-on-the-monitor reminder. Here are two that keep me on the straight and narrow:
Is what I’m doing at this moment moving me measurably closer to my goal?
Is what I’m doing at this moment a money generating activity? (meaning: working on a project for a paying client or marketing efforts that will help you get more paying clients).
Do you need help making your ideas happen? If you think some perspective, structure and accountability could help you break through your road blocks and reach your goals, I’d love to speak with you. Click here and schedule a free introductory call and I’ll look forward to chatting soon!