"I've got an idea that can make a million dollars, Joel!"
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this from someone, I'd be well on my way to having a million dollars.
Here's the thing about ideas. They are worthless. Worthless, that is, until they become a reality and are properly executed.
So what's the big idea about ideas?
I love ideas! All of my successes originated with ideas. Let's face it. There is nothing like the "a-ha!" moment when your mind erupts into a volcano of imagination and possibility.
I'm such a believer in ideas that I once had a Vice President of Ideas on staff! Dan Nickerson came up with ideas so often that I had to tell him to slow down. We only developed a handful of Dan's ideas, but a couple of those ideas were brilliantly executed and very successful. (Ever heard of Socrates Theme?)
How should you look at your ideas? Unless you can get on Shark Tank and have Kevin O' Leary make you cry like a little girl, you need to be aware of a few things.
1) Just because you have an idea doesn't mean it's a good idea. What sounds like genius at the moment could actually be insane. And not in a good way.
When people come to me with an idea, I tell them to expect complete honesty from me. That means if I hate it, I am going to tell them. With those expectations put in place, they usually agree to share their idea.
Of course, I don't know everything. In fact, I know very little. But if you ask my opinion you are going to get my opinion. (I can't give you anything other than that.) And I've had to tell quite a few people that their idea was a bad idea.
2) Just because you have an idea doesn't mean it hasn't been done.
More often than not, when I ask the ideator if they have researched their idea to see if someone else is doing it, they tell me they have not. In the majority of cases, a simple Google search reveals that someone else has "stolen" their idea. Amazingly, they stole it before the person I'm talking to ever thought it up! How DOES that happen? A glitch in the matrix, I suppose.
3) Just because you have an idea doesn't mean you should be the one to do it, or that anyone should attempt it.
I've got lists of products and services I have dreamed up. Some of them I have brought to fruition, but the majority are nothing more than ideas. Some are good ideas, but they have seen as much life as they will ever see.
Why? Because I can't do everything. And I definitely can't do everything well.
I have to choose carefully which ideas I wish to turn into products or services. I've learned from experience (re: the hard way), that it is way to too easy to get spread too thin. When I lose focus on excelling in one arena, I'm likely to be mediocre in all my efforts. Perhaps your idea would take off were it in someone else's hands. Just a thought.
Don't stop coming up with ideas. But realize that an idea in itself is not the answer. As with everything worth accomplishing in life, it's all about the execution.
I won't stop coming up with ideas. I will write them down, explore them with potential partners, and perhaps select one for development.
Or maybe I should just charge people $1 to share their idea with me. Now that's a great idea!
What are your thoughts? I welcome your comments, questions and ideas below!