In today’s post, I share a strategy with you that can help you have more, winning ideas than ever before.
Think about it: Behind every successful business are a series of ideas. Winning ideas, which open up new opportunities or set the business on a new path. The challenge with winning ideas is that they often look like average ideas, until after they become hugely successful. As a result, most great ideas never see the light of they. In fact, I bet you have a few tucked away right now, without even knowing it.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
Some experts thought laptops would never become popular
In 1985, The New York Times announced the death of laptop computers; “Whatever happened to the laptop computer?” They wondered why laptops never became popular (seriously).
“[…] I.B.M. never legitimized the market with its much rumored ”Clamshell,” probably because the company realized that laptops are a small niche market, not a mass market.”
And when the electric light bulb was invented, most people said it would never become a mass market product. It was thought that there was no affordable way to get electricity to enough homes.
Ideas that win
Business owners sometimes ask me what I think of an idea they have. The challenge here, is that it doesn’t matter what I think or what their friends think. Winning ideas are not anointed. If you want to know how good your idea is, you need to get it out there. If you do, you will find it’s almost impossible to fail.
It’s a win-win thing.
- If it flies, you’ll have a success on your hands.
- If it flops, you’ll learn something, which you can invest in the next idea and greatly increase your chances of success.
Ironically, the only way to guarantee an idea will fail, is to try and protect it from failure by locking it away.
It’s a lose-lose thing.
- The idea you fail to ship can’t succeed.
- The idea you fail to ship can’t teach you anything new.
This not only insulates you from success, it insulates you from learning and growing.
When I started out in business, I found it very hard to put my ideas into action. I knew it made sense. I knew I needed to do it. But it’s one of those pieces of advice, which is ‘easier said than done’.
Thankfully, I discovered a way forward, which I’m going to share with you.
Here’s the strategy that worked for me
I’ve shared this strategy with countless people over the years and the results have been amazing. It’s actually really, really simple.
My breakthrough came, when I figured out that the part of my mind responsible for putting ideas into action, was weak. It needed improving, conditioning, strengthening. I thought one way to do this, would be to treat it like a weak muscle. To make a weak muscle strong, you start off by working with very light weights. As the muscle grows, you slowly increase the weight you’re working with. Eventually, the muscle becomes strong.
I started, by acting on what I considered to be small ideas. Ideas that were unlikely to set the world on fire if they worked, but where there was relatively little downside if they failed.
Every time I acted on one of these small business ideas, I’d write it down in a journal, along with the results. With every new journal entry, my ‘idea muscles’ grew a little. I also noticed that even with these small ideas, my business was starting to see some very encouraging results. This further built my idea muscles. Pretty soon I was working with excitement on big ideas. Today, I actively look for them. I seek them out. And if they’re interesting, I put them into play.
As the frequency and size of the ideas you act on increases, so does the development of your business. And something else happens. Business in general becomes a lot more interesting. That’s because working on new ideas, even small ones, is extremely invigorating. It causes you to think differently, meet new people and explore new opportunities. Just remember to start with small ideas. Slowly build it up. And be sure to chronicle your results, so you can see the progress you’re making.
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