Updated: Apr 8
Ideas abound in the human mind, but how do we know which one will become the foundation for a successful business? Or how do you turn an idea into an opportunity?
Examine the motivation behind your idea. As Simon Sinek says, understand your why. Then perform a preliminary analysis to determine if it is worth pursuing. Some questions that could be asked are:
Why am I doing this?
Is this a “get rich quick” scheme?
Am I doing this due to dire economic needs?
Is there a market for my idea (product, service)?
How do I get others to believe in my idea?
Leadership gurus Timmons and Spinelli, write that “A good idea is nothing more than a tool in the hands of an entrepreneur”. However, a tool is useless unless the person holding it knows how to use it.
Idea to Empire
Entrepreneurs like Colonel John Stevens, the Father of American Railroads and Michael Lee-Chin, Executive Chairman of AIC Limited knew how to use their idea (tool) to build towering empires. From paying close attention to his competitor Robert Fulton, Colonel Stevens became aware of the success with the steamboat which birthed the idea to build a steam railroad. Unfortunately, he had to fight long and hard for the opportunity to turn his idea into reality. John Stevens set out to build his locomotive long before modern day entrepreneurial methods were developed. He, however, possessed two of the most integral characteristics of an entrepreneur – commitment and determination. Stevens built his first steam-powered engine in 1826 but it was not until 1829 that he gained recognition for his work, by winning a contest in England. This win propelled him to fame and started the era of steam engines. Michael Lee-Chin is a Jamaican immigrant to Canada who has built one of the most successful fund companies in Canada to date. A Civil Engineer by profession, the entrepreneurial bug kicked in when he turned twenty-six and he entered the financial industry. He bought AIC Limited in 1987 and has taken the company from $1 million dollars in assets to over $8 billion. The timing was obviously right for these gentlemen to begin their new ventures. Colonel Stevens entered a new market and Mr. Lee-Chin took an existing product and made it better. “There is a fine line between an entrepreneur and a crazy person. Crazy people see things that others don’t. What seems to differentiate the entrepreneur from the crazy person is that the former gets other people to believe in his vision.” (Roddick, date unknown)
Not only did both men have the required experience in their respective industries, but they also had a reliable team to help them attain their vision. Colonel Stevens had his sons and among others, Mr. Lee-Chin had his mentor, the well-known Warren Buffet.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it with amazing accuracy”. (Lee-Chin)
What Ideas Are Made Of
What Mr. Lee-Chin is suggesting is not to dismiss your ideas when they come but to entertain them, nurture them and allow them to grow then act on the ones that have sufficient substance. This may require that you perform preliminary market research and seek additional advice from experts in the field.
Once the idea develops in your mind you have to transfer it to paper. Do a brainstorming session to generate other ideas then use them to create a concise business plan. The business plan will become your main marketing tool to raise capital for your business. The entrepreneur should have already begun to build a team of competent individuals to move the vision forward. Taking an idea from thought to opportunity is a process that requires thorough planning and skillful execution.
An idea (concept or notion) is the result of a thought which, when implemented at the most opportune point in time, will consequently enhance “security, wealth (and) freedom”. (Millwood)
Do you have an idea that you would like to develop? Then it's time to enroll in my Genesis Business Development program for entrepreneurs at the KMI Institute. My book, Entrepreneur: Putting Theory Into Practice is also a great resource to help you get started.
Our world is constantly changing and many people are opting to have multiple streams of income instead of relying only on their career salary. At KMI, we give you the strategies to go from idea to production and put some extra income into your bank account.
"Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long you miss them." (William Arthur Ward)
Opportunity is knocking at your door. Don't delay. Enroll now.