Spoken by the tribe: Give your ideas a chance.
So it turns out that we are all entrepreneurs. Whether you like the idea or not, we all organise and manage our enterprise (us) and the success of this is determined by the extent of our initiative and risk. So, rather than dwelling on the big issues ‘do I want my own business’ and ‘but, I don’t have an idea/too many ideas’, it might be worth acknowledging that you already have an enterprise of sorts and that focusing on ways to be playful with initiative and manage risk might serve you better in the long run.
The Hero Vision.
Let us assume for a moment that you do want your own business, Rob’s message was clear enough. Business building is less about the big vision and the single idea, rather it is about a cycle of effectuation, the process of acting on ideas to get feedback. The image of the hero-preneuer, whose bold and arbitrary vision makes billions, well, frankly it’s a bit of a fallacy. Starting with what we have available to us, we can lay stepping stones over the big chasm of the unknown for a far more comfortable journey.
But maybe you don’t like comfort. Here’s what you need to do if you belong to that camp; come up with one idea (preferably in a field where you have little experience), treat your idea with benevolence and joy, ask people the kind of questions you know will validate your idea and then scale based on this data. The number one failure of startup businesses is premature scale. So if you want to enjoy lasting success with a new venture, why not try the following:
1. Take a resource-led approach based on what skills and connections are available to you.
2. Treat your idea with a healthy skepticism.
3. Understand what you want to achieve from the project.
4. Team up with people whose values align with yours.
5. Ask deeply uncomfortable questions. Don’t ask ‘would you buy this?’ (For more on this check out Rob’s book, ‘The Mom Test’.)
6. Test it with the minimum resources you have available to you and quickly.
Ideas are only as good as the skills you have to deliver them.
So 15minutes is all it took to come up with three viable (or maybe possible) idea propositions. How about these; an online e-commerce platform to connect makers with people who want to self-design? I don’t know anything about e-commerce but I know about design and user experience. Or what about this; a business that runs sailing trips focused around career change, could there be anything more fitting for those looking for a journey? I don’t know anything about sailing, but I do know a little about career change. What about this piece de resistance; a running track connecting the roofs of buildings in the city where space to run is an expensive and unavailable commodity?
The commonality amongst these potential nuggets lay in the co-foundership of the idea; each contributor owned 50% of the resources available to develop it. Through our purposeful networking, these collaborative ideas were born by multiplying the skill set, interests and values system of two people. By avoiding the predetermination of the ‘what’ as a starting point, we can shift to a more grounded foundation of ‘why’ (thanks Simon Sinek) with a complimentary sprinkling of ‘how’. Ideas are only as good as your ability to exploit them and you must have the ability to do it quickly.
Creating Joy or Removing Pain.
Ideas live this amazing life; they are born with such purity and without judgment. And then their life hangs in the balance for the amount of time that you determine. They have the ability to transform, change, connect and create but for some they are our biggest obstacles. If you understand whether your ideas are there to create joy or remove pain (or perhaps a little of both), then it helps you to act with purpose accordingly.
It’s worth remembering that our ideas always mean well, but it is our attitude to what we do with them that shapes their destiny.
So, give yourself the freedom to create without judgment, the kindness to let them live a little longer than before, the courage to try them out and the acuity to adapt when they don’t end up as you intended. Find people who share your values, pool your resources, put them through the ideas generator and voila.
As Rob says, just start.