Don’t Wait For The Perfect Business Idea – Create It!
Friends of mine who have never been part of the whole entrepreneurial thing, sometimes find it tough to understand why I’m so enthusiastic. They’ve been direct, honest and sometimes brutal in suggesting that starting a small business and helping other entrepreneurs is ‘playing around at a job’. Thankfully after more than fifteen years watching me struggle, learn, improve and grow as an entrepreneur, founder and mentor, my wife knows it’s not just ‘playing around’ and sees how challenging but fun it can be. As she’s someone who prefers the corporate side, she doesn’t always understand it, but she certainly know’s starting, launching and growing business is No Joke.
And the truth is I am enthusiastic about working with other entrepreneurs to start, launch and grow businesses – and there are a few BIG reasons why. In my opinion, its entrepreneurs who will pull as back from some of the significant challenges we face as a country, as a people and even as a planet.
Whether its creating clean water for people in the developing world, biotech innovation to address significant diseases or crackpot inventors creating new technology to save babies from cot death – all these things are happening because an entrepreneur had an ‘A Ha’ moment.
Now we can all worry about our mortgages, our bills, our bitchy boss or whatever concerns are occupying us but we can also create businesses which not only will leave a legacy but have a positive impact in our communities, our world and perhaps, humankind. I personally don’t think there is anything ‘small’ about having a passion for a new product, a new invention and starting a company to deliver it.
In yesterday’s post / podcast we were talking about some of the big reasons why people who have the entrepreneurial gene stop themselves from going forward and starting their dream company’s. We tackle the lack of money and the need for security. Another big reason some folks WAIT to try to test and move forward with an entrepreneurial venture is waiting for that ‘A Ha’ moment I mentioned earlier.
Someone at sometime told them that entrepreneurs are obliged to have that ‘A Ha’ moment and to bring completely unique ideas to life. They’re told that’s what being an entrepreneur IS. And they believe they need to wait for lightening to strike them and at that moment, they’ll drop everything and pursue their true passion.
Please don’t laugh. I’m totally serious. There really are people who could be kick ass founders of some of the greatest companies, who haven’t started yet because they are waiting for that magic moment.
Now its time to dispel the myth.
Even those people who have that ‘A Ha’ moment and ‘see’ some vision of a new product and are compelled to create it, there are some important points to consider. Most new ideas are derivatives of earlier ideas – the ‘a Ha’ moment we speak of often occurs when an obvious connection is made. It’s not so much an ‘a Ha’ moment as much of a slap on the forehead and a “Of Course! Why didn’t I see THAT earlier!” Its seeing something you’ve seen multiple times before and its only at that moment that you see it in slightly different way.
That’s the first point. The second is that there is a hell of a long way to go between that realization and having a product or service in the marketplace that customers value and want to buy. And make no mistake – the vision the inventor had during that moment of inspiration will forever remain in their head because what, after talking to multiple customers, actually gets deliver to those customer will nearly always be VERY different than that first, inspirational idea.
That unique ‘A Ha’ moment idea served its purpose to get the entrepreneur off their ass. That was its purpose – it was the flame under their rear to get them started. But the journey from idea to a company that can constantly deliver that product or service in a way and at a price that customers value and at a profit, is a journey of a thousand steps.
Let me give you a for instance – a popular area of startup ‘growth’ right now is in wearable technology. Sounds complicated right? Wearable technology is not complicated, its basically bring ideas and technologies together to solve problems and, ideally improve lives.
An example of that is the Levana Oma Clip-On Portable Baby Movement Monitor
As the parent of an infant, you can lose sleep simply making certain that your baby is not in any risk while she sleeps – however the Levana Oma Clip-On Portable Baby Movement Monitor helps with that fear. As a parent, my wife and I literally freaked out when bring our daughter home from the hospital – we were mortally afraid of cot deaths and suffocation.
How many times do we stand up in the night to make certain our daughter hand’t stopped breathing? Now Raj inventor this product because he was frustrated at the baby monitors that were being solved and, like most entrepreneurs/inventors – he set out to create and build a ‘better mousetrap’. He had a real, powerful and personal need and from there, he created a product which will save lives, reassure parents and would be part of a suite of products for his new company. My hat is off to Raj – he is doing something really worthwhile with his life.
So is this baby movement monitor totally complicated and beyond what mere mortals could invent?
Well you tell me – the Levana Oma Clip-On Portable Baby Movement Monitor allows the parent to place a comfy sensor on the baby’s diaper right up against her belly. This sensor is developed to fit snugly against her so that it can notice every small movement.
If there is more than 15 seconds of complete stillness, an alarm sounds. You have a screen in your room which allows you to see and get an alarm if if your child moves in an irregular way or if your child’s motions appear weak.
Raj’s product comes factory set to identify your child breathing 8 times a minute and that setting can be changed and the whole setup is wireless, battery powered and small enough to take if you travel.
Raj’s product gives parent’s more peace when their child is sleeping.
Again – a cool product but its a tiny clip that attaches to the baby’s diaper and communicates to a sensor. How many challenges, frustrations, annoyances and pains do you have that you just put up with which could be the start of a range of product to improve people’s lives and be the start of your great company?
I challenge you to sit down with paper and pen and just start to write down a list of challenges you experience. Now maybe that is too broad – let me help you focus in.
Pick an activity you enjoy – a sport, a hobby, traveling – or think back to a specific stage of life – starting college, having a child, starting a new job, moving home and now ~ list some of the biggest challenges you had. Some of the biggest frustrations and pains.
Make that list as long as possible. Now I’d like you to score each pain from 1 through 10 – 1 ‘least’ to 10 ‘most’ in terms of how many other people would have the same pains and frustrations. Just to be really clear.
If the frustration is such that hundreds or thousands experience it every day – that would be a 10 – maybe even a 12. If its a pain that a couple of people a month experience, that would be a 1.
This will divide up those pains and frustrations that many people want to fix.
Example – I played soccer at school – loved it but my boots would get wet, muddy and smelly and I put up with it, that was just part of the game. Then someone invented an insert which took away the smell – it was a simple solution and the inventor probably made herself a fortune in the process and made my life just a little better.
So lets just round this one out – don’t wait for the ‘A Ha’ moment – creativity is not something you are born with – we can all be creative and can all, with a process and with a way of thinking, create ideas for new products, services and businesses that could make a real difference to you and other people. Start with needs, with pains and frustrations, a brain dump and a framework to weigh each idea before you start to pursue it.
I’d like to help you do this because together, we can make the world a better place. Entrepreneurs will be the salvation of humankind – I believe it and we can be a part of that solution.
Over the next few days we’ll dig deeper together into some techniques for you to create your new product / company idea. Stick with me and you’ll be ready to go test your own new product idea – with our without your ‘a Ha’ moment 🙂
Don’t Wait For The Perfect Business Idea – Create It! And I’d like to help.
Sign up for podcast updates and to get more tips.