What do I do with my brilliant idea? It is occupying ever waking moment. One day you are in a coffee shop chatting with a friend about the idea you have. It’s brilliant and yet to be brought to the public. It is so brilliant that your friend builds on your idea and together you both are giddy over the possibilities, the dreams. and how you are going to make this happen. Three weeks go by since that coffee date and you think about this idea every day. You call your friend to chat about it and she says, “what idea, oh yes, well you know it’s a great idea, but I really don’t have the time, nor the interest.”
Sound familiar? Perhaps it’s a business idea, a product, a new concept or service. Your day job does not allow for much time to step into the thought of ever making this a reality, yet your passions and desires are strong. WHAT DO I DO WITH MY BRILLIANT IDEA?
Before ever investing in one single dollar there is one important step that is often missed. Costing young companies in the tens and thousands of dollars. What do you do with your brilliant idea? You start asking a stranger what they think of your idea. Not a product developer, branding company, savvy business Joe who is taking notes and running off to trademark, license, patent and steal your idea. There are so many people who are going to push you forward with your idea. Especially if you have financial backing to support your brilliance. I made this statement twice this past week, “Your friends, family, and the people you are paying are not the people to put your brilliance in front of. These people will be your biggest cheer leaders. Especially if you are helping make their car payment. Trust me there is a time and place when you will need these people. Just not yet.
I asked a gal, just starting her business, nearing the end of their cash flow, if she had ever spoken with a buyer in the market she is planning to put her idea? Had she been directed into specific market research? What markets might her product even work in? I cringed when she told me how much money had been spent on building what she thought and was directed as a “solid foundation” and no idea what buyers would even like or consider her brilliance.
In most cases our family and friends are terrific supporters. “Oh darling, I love what you are doing, you are so brilliant, this is going to hit the sky.” It is not at all false flattery. It’s that support we need and desire. However when it comes to putting money down on the brilliance, very few have those same cheer leaders wanting to chip in. I met with a young start up company last fall that had “family money” and a lot of it. Family was excited to help this young man launch. Only if there was an investor who would kick in. The family was supportive, and had the money. Their confidence in handing the funds over would only come if an investor was equally confident, which that was not the case. The idea went flat, again without ever knowing if this was a product that would work in today’s markets. The investor was not going to go on the simple fact that you have a solid foundation. They want to know that you are going to be generating income from this brilliant idea and a foundation is important, but more important is knowing who your market is, what that market can support in a small start up company and then carefully placing your dollars in the product’s development and foundation.
As a consultant, I am often the “stranger” that is looking over a product or new business start up. I start asking all kinds of questions and require some extra work on your part to teach you how to move forward and put your business plan in action. Once you have asked a few strangers, did your research, and have even visited a few trade-shows in your industry, you can then hire savvy Joe, because he is important, just not at the front end. Do you have a brilliant idea? What are you going to do with your brilliant idea?