Are great new ideas constantly popping into your head from who knows where?
This is what charges me up about entrepreneurship and creativity. I love the idea generating phase. My brain chews on ideas and ways to implement and improve upon them like a dog chews on its favorite bone. I’m energized by the work involved in the early phases. (Yes, these are telltale symptoms of my ADD.)
But we can’t spread ourselves all over the place, right? We can’t give every single idea the resources and focus it takes to see what’s going to stick. So I treat my ideas like I treat my garden.
Stick it in the dirt and see what happens.
I live in Florida, and vegetation down here awes me. It’s a hobby of mine to grow and propagate tropical plants in the yard.
Plants are like ideas, and ideas are like plants. That analogy isn’t new.
When I get the inspiration to generate a new plant, or get some exotic clipping from a friend, I stick it in the dirt and see what happens.
I don’t ignore it, that would surely lead to it withering up and dying. I give it what it needs at first. Some dirt, some water, some fertilizer, and some sun.
Give it what it needs to start then step back and observe it.
I give it it’s basic needs, then I step back and wait.
All those entrepreneurial ideas in your head are the same. You can’t chase them all, so pick your favorite and give it its most basic needs.
Then step back and see if that idea’s going to take root or not.
If it shows signs of life, nurture the hell out of it.
It’s not uncommon for some stick I poked in the ground to look completely dead for weeks, then next thing I know, it has little green sprouts forming. That’s when I really give it attention. I know that one’s a keeper. I move it to a more suitable location, and I keep giving it what it needs to get strong.
When your idea starts to show signs that it’s going to grow, then jump into action with your concrete plans. Ask yourself:
What's the next single/concrete step I should take to take this idea to the next level?
What can go wrong, and how should I prepare for this?
What can go right, and how should I prepare for this?
What resources do I need to take this to the next level?
Who can I learn from? Who has the expertise I need?
If I don't have all the answers, where can I turn to get them?
Sometimes you think an idea is dead but it’s really quietly taking root.
Ideas are like plants. Every entrepreneur at some point hits a wall where you wonder if all the work is ever going to produce anything in return. You start to doubt your idea. You can become fearful. It can be discouraging.
You may think your idea is dead, but it could be taking root underground where you can’t see it. Give ideas enough time to produce their fruit.
When all else fails, chop it down.
Not every plant, and not every idea is going to take root and grow. They won't all give you fruit in return for your hard work.
When all else fails, chop it down. Don’t throw time and money after something that’s clearly showing you it’s not going to work.
You can always try that idea at another time or another place. Maybe it was getting too much sun, not enough water or the wrong fertilizer, and you’ll have better results next time.