Make it Happen!
August 28, 2012 2 Comments
Have you ever seen a product and thought to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”
This happens to me on a pretty regular basis. I’ll be watching Shark Tank or browsing Amazon and I’ll see a great innovation that fills an obvious need (and is usually shockingly simple) and ask myself that very question: “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Along the same line of thought, two of the founders of Field Agent recently spoke to the participants of the ARK Challenge startup accelerator that Agricultural Food Systems was recently accepted into. One of the things that they pointed out was at the end of the day, no one wants to look back and see someone else commercialize an idea that they originally had and have to say “I had that idea” without ever taking action on it. Their advice to entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and innovators: “Make it happen!”
Million Dollar Ideas
I’ve heard it said that every person will have at least one million dollar idea in his/her lifetime. Then why isn’t everyone a millionaire (or multimillionaire)? Just because you have a million dollar idea, doesn’t mean it’s actually worth that. It’s one’s ability to act on their idea and take enormous action towards its creation that will ultimately determine the ideas monetary outcome. For one reason or another, many people do not act on their idea.
Some of the reasons are perfectly legitimate of course (ie time and finance limitations), but others are not. With the increasing availability of resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the climate for bringing an idea to fruition is primed for innovation. Not to mention that most Millennials graduating from college would rather work for a startup than for a large corporation according to a recent study.
How to Make it Happen
Here are some ways that you can take your idea and make it happen:
- Keep an “Ideas Journal”
If you’re like me, you usually think of a great idea, but then forget about it a few hours later. This is why I’ve started carrying a Moleskine around with me so that I can jot down ideas, quotes, and business strategies as I encounter them throughout the day. Instead of a Moleskine, you could also create a note on your iPhone or a Word document on your computer.
The purpose of keeping this journal is twofold: it ensures you won’t forget an idea later and gives you a database of possible things to do when the conditions of your life warrant pursuing an idea.
- Test the validity of your idea
A lot of ideas can be impractical: they cost too much, they don’t have a broad enough appeal, the technology doesn’t exist to make it happen. One thing you can do to see if your idea is worth acting upon is to test its validity. This can be done by researching the industry that your idea would fit within: What are its needs? What is already out there? What sales channels exist? How much change would be required for your idea to be implemented? Who are the big players? All of these questions can help you understand if your idea is plausible or not. (Note: Just because it isn’t plausible now doesn’t mean that it won’t be plausible at some other point in the future.)
- Share your idea
What do you have a great idea, but you don’t have the time/resources/desire to make it happen on your own? Share the idea with others that might be able to partner with you. This doesn’t mean you tweet your idea for the whole world to see, but meet with influential people in or around the industry you’re targeting and run it by them (depending on the person, you may want to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect yourself and your idea). If you pick the right individual(s), he/she may be able to team up with you to make your dream a reality. At the very least, you might be able to sell them your concept for cash or an equity/revenue-sharing stake in the product. (If all else fails, tell it to me and I’ll write it in my Ideas Journal for later 🙂 ).
- Develop and implement a plan
Of course, you always have the option to do the heavy lifting to bring your idea to life. While there is a lot of research, strategy, business plan writing, and networking that is involved, it is usually worth it in the end, even if your venture never takes off. Speaking from experience, it is challenging, but the experience gained by putting a plan into action is invaluable. With Agricultural Food Systems, I’ve had the opportunity to apply many of the things I learned at John Brown University right away (and even added to that body of knowledge). Every day is a new adventure that requires determination, flexibility, and a varied skill set. If you ever have the opportunity to take an idea and form a business around it, I would highly recommend it.
Those are just a few ways you can “make it happen!” Feel free to share more in the Comments. Also, have you ever had an idea that you acted upon (or wish you’d acted upon)? How did it turn out?
Learn It. Love It. Live It.