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Sometimes the most successful business ideas, are just simple solutions to everyday problems. Other ideas can challenge the status quo or highlight a problem that others don’t realise exist, identifying and innovating to come up with a solution. No matter where ideas stem from, it is important to acknowledge that it can vary from being small and simple to big and complex. When these ideas are visually and strategically executed successfully, they have the potential to create positive change within people’s lives, communities and environment.
A great example is the inventor Thomas Edison. He invented the electric light bulb, which was a practical idea that changed the world and created a long-lasting legacy. At the time, we can only imagine that the idea of building this invention was incomprehensible to others. However, his idea did not come easy, as he had 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. These step-backs and challenges would have turned many people off. Not to mention the amount of doubts and rejections he received from others. What helped him bring his idea to fruition, was that he wasn’t afraid of failure and he had faith that he was getting closer to discovering the best solution.
For many entrepreneurs there is a struggle to get their ideas off the ground because their vision isn’t clear and concrete. As a result, entrepreneurs at their early stages of business, face the challenge of succeeding and are sometimes left wondering how they could had prevailed. Below we will highlight some of the common obstacles business owners have and address possible solutions to combat them.
8 Common challenges and tips:
1. Communicating an idea: It can be a challenge to take an idea from your mind, translate it verbally, so that others can visualise your vision clearly. The key is to keep your idea short and concise–write it down and refine it to 3-5 sentences.
2. Finances: Many struggle to receive investments or effectively utilise the budget they already have. This can be combated by having a concrete business plan, which outlines your needs, costs and the return on investment (ROI).
3. Defeated by rejection: It takes courage to stick by your ideas, when you face step-backs. The first step is to not take the criticisms personally. Instead ask for feedback, to see how you can improve and move forward. You may find that by tweaking your idea, you can convert a negative response into a positive.
4. Letting go of your original idea: Once you’ve decided that you will follow through with your idea. It is important to take a moment to emotionally detach yourself from your ideas. With an open mind, you will be able to question the authenticity, and relevance of your ideas in your market. There is no harm in starting from scratch.
5. Paranoid about idea thieves: This can hinder you from building connections that will improve your idea and possibly get prospects and funding. Notably, everyone approaches their thoughts, ideas and concepts differently. So, even if someone does ‘steal’ your idea, they will not have the same approach or quality as you do.
6. Poor leadership: This can have devastating effects on your business. Displaying a strong leadership towards your team requires you to display a positive attitude, good communication skills, a clear vision and set achievable goals (with a plan on how to achieve them).
7. Learning from step-backs: Failure is a natural part of life. Rest assured that others have failed and managed to bounced back, so can you. We suggest that you surround yourself with people who are supportive, positive and practical.
8. Forward-thinking agility: Your prospects, customers, technology, and economy are constantly changing. Your business should adapt to these changes but still stay true to its mission.
Now that we have established a good framework to work with, we will transition into how to take your idea to impact.
1. Write down your idea: Consider carrying around an idea journal to document your thoughts because you might forget it later on. And trust us, you will. Also, take some time to create a vision board that includes the following subsections: business scale, ideal team and clients (how you’ll attract them), channels to use, and place your ultimate mission in the centre of the board. This will act as a daily reminder to stay focused and motivate you to keep going.
2. Verbalising your idea: Now you have defined and know what your idea is. The next step is to articulate what its purpose is (generally known as your mission). The idea should be simple enough for any to re-articulate, which is also known as your elevator pitch.
3. Surround yourself with masterminds: Seek support and mentorship, you can learn from other people’s journeys. If you are planning to have a team, ensure that you collaborate with the right people, who will support the vision.
4. Winning one person over: Your first step is convincing one person! It can be overwhelming and intimidating to pitch your idea to several people, out of fear of rejection. It’s okay if people reject your ideas, take note of their feedback and find ways to address them with future prospects. If a negative feedback keeps recurring, make sure to address it because it highlights the gap in your business idea.
5. Embrace design innovation: Use the approach that places the principle of ‘form follows function” at the forefront of your creativity and strategic thinking process. Always design with purpose in all aspects of your campaign, products or service.
At Idea East we believe that “...ideas are the lifeblood of creativity and when applied to everything from your strategy & campaigns to your business model & ecosystem, we’re able to innovate in everything we do. That's design innovation in action!”