Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Nancy F. Clark0
Separate ‘You’ from Your Business Idea
By Danielle Tate—
Would you marry someone you went on one date with because it “seemed like a great idea?” Hopefully not. As silly as the example may be, it illustrates the importance of caution when it comes to immediately acting upon the emotions surrounding “great ideas,” especially when it comes to business ideas.
Ideas are a bit magical and mythical when success stories of prominent entrepreneurs are told. Typically the story goes that a founder had an idea and turned it into an overnight success. This concept of overnight success has been adopted by the general public to their detriment. Most people believe that their “great idea” is unique and could make them an overnight success. Not to take the wind out of anyone’s sails, startup reality rarely includes overnight success. Case in point, Martha Stewart took fourteen years to go from launching her catering business to publishing the first issue of Martha Stewart Living and it took Steve Jobs twenty years to turn Apple into an overnight success.
Aside from belief in overnight success causing individuals to cling tightly to their ideas and consider risky ways to fund those ideas, human nature causes us to connect our idea with ourselves. When you have a business idea it is easy to imagine all of the money your idea is going to make, how famous you are going to be, and how your idea is going to positively impact the world. Sadly, the more you embellish daydreams about your idea, the harder it is going to be for you to admit if your idea turns out to be unfeasible or just not that great. Your idea is worthless unless you can build a product, execute a profitable business model, and sustain a company around it, so don’t get too attached to your initial idea.
Much like evaluating how you and a potential life partner might fare in the long haul, it is in your best interest to fully know your business idea’s best points and worst points. Identify areas that need work and assess the realistic scope of your startup’s potential success before you devote yourself to it. No amount of love and energy can change a bad idea into a good one, so don’t waste your valuable time and startup zeal on something that will never make it off the ground.
Separating “you” from your business idea is essential to determining if you truly have a “great idea” worthy of building a business. As you begin to talk about your idea with others, listen to everything they have to say and record both the negative and the positive. The negative feedback is the more important of the two categories. If you have separated yourself from your business idea it will still sting to receive criticism, but you will be able to use critiques to evaluate, improve, and possibly iterate your idea to make it stronger. You may feel worried that your idea will be stolen if you discuss it, but the valuable feedback you receive is worth the nominal risk of a peer or colleague creating a business around your idea before you do.
Do not be afraid to ask the hard questions. Ask others if your idea solves a legitimate problem. Ask what is wrong with your idea. Ask how the solution could be executed more effectively. Ask if they would buy it for your ideal asking price. If they say no, ask why and how much they would pay. Confronting the answers and information you receive might be nerve-wracking if you are emotionally tied to your idea, but they are exactly what a potential founder needs to know before committing themselves to an idea. Questions are free, failed businesses are not.
Another reason to separate you from your idea comes into play when you initiate your market research. If you are emotionally tied to your idea you will invariably lead your test consumers on why your idea or product is great, how it works, and why it benefits them. As a business, it is virtually impossible to teach consumers what they want or need. To be successful, your idea must provide a solution to a problem your target market is experiencing at a price they are willing to pay. You must have accurate data to make an accurate decision about the worthiness of your idea. If you are basing the decision to invest your time and money into an idea that is based on your assumptions and misguided research you are on the fast track to failure.
Women make exceptional entrepreneurs, as we have built-in instincts to nurture, foster, and protect the things we love. Harnessing our instincts and emotions are the key to building a successful business out of an idea. Emotion absolutely has its place in business and entrepreneurship. Once your idea has been fully vetted and found to be worthy of your love, you must commit to it fully. You must believe down to your core that your idea can, and will be, successful. You will need every ounce of passion and conviction to build your idea into a thriving business, protect it from competitors, and continue to grow it in an ever-changing market. You are what will make your company succeed.
Article photo by Hatoriz Kwansiripat