The fallacy of the BIG IDEA …

Big Idea

On many occasions, I’ve been approached by friends, associates, acquaintances, who want to know what the “secret sauce” is for building a great business. Most of the time, the questions center around “how do I come up with the one, big idea?”. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people who think that they would like to become entrepreneurs, don’t end up doing so because they waste so much of their energy obsessing about finding that single, elusive, once-in-a-lifetime, idea that can make them billions and billions of dollars, overnight !!!

From one entrepreneur’s point of view, this is a bunch of bunk. For every so-called “great idea” that has never taken flight, I’ve seen 100 “average ideas” achieve incredible success in the market. Can you imagine investors being approached with a proposal to fund yet another lifestyle concept coffee shop franchise … eventually becoming Starbucks? Or how about the guys that had the brilliant idea to develop a better web-based search engine, after Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite and Inktomi had a chokehold on the space … I think that most of us would recognize that company today as Google :-).

The point here is, that you don’t have to be brilliant, original, or even first to market. Sometimes the best “ideas” come from an improved version of someone else’s idea, especially after the pioneers have made all of the mistakes. What’s the real difference? The determination of the entrepreneur to make it work — almost regardless of the idea. In fact, there is no doubt that this is what seperates the successful entrepreneurs from the dreamers. That old phrase of 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration really does apply, because an idea without action is just a fantasy.

So, it’s simple. Pick an idea, any idea. Then spend the rest of your time and energy making it work. Fight through the issues … keep learning from every obstacle … stay focused on continuous refinement of the concept to address what customers really want … and most of all, never, never, ever give up — when you encounter an obstacle, find a way through it, over it, under it, or around it … but just find a way to get to the other side. It really is that simple (and that hard !!). It doesn’t happen overnight, and you won’t get it right the first time. But by committing to it, and focusing on it, you will have the opportunity to shape that idea into a market offering that customers will want to buy, in a business that top employees will want to join, and that eventually, shareholders will want to invest into.

Bon Chance !!!