In the world of ideas everything was clear; in life all was obscure, embroiled. – Aldous Huxley in Crome Yellow
Coming up with ideas for an innovative business is easy. Getting beyond the idea stage, is tough. And that’s the problem, there are not enough people bringing good ideas to reality.
But have you ever wondered why you or people you know fail to bring their creative business ideas to fruition? Not to worry. I’ve done the work for you.
Here are the top ten reasons getting beyond the idea stage is difficult for many people:
- Ideas don’t take up much room.
It’s easy to accumulate things that don’t take up much room. Many ideas are represented only as grey matter in your brain where you have infinite hard drive space – at least while you’re healthy. Other ideas are written in a journal, on a piece of paper (the back of your hand) or digitally. None of these formats take up space. Ideas are easier to manage than actual creative projects.
- Ideas can be mistaken as substitutes for actually creating something.
Coming up with ideas can feel like real work. Indeed it is real work when it leads somewhere. But coming up with ideas that you do nothing with is not real work. Is it? Have you fallen into the trap of equating ideas with actual creative projects? Your idea is not real until you start to shape it into something people can touch, feel, experience or benefit from.
- Ideas might be useful in future.
Don’t get me wrong. Having ideas is a great thing. To have ideas is to be human. The more ideas you have the more likely at least one of them will become useful in the future provided you remember it and you make the link to the then present challenge. The problem arises when you find yourself collecting ideas rather than acting on any of them. And just like a lot of the detris in life we store in our attics, ideas are not useful until you do something productive with them.
- Ideas are fun, stimulating and are not messy.
Coming up with ideas or simply receiving them by virtue of being alive and alert is fun. Ideas create a mental charge in you – a dopamine fix. That’s one reason you and people around you enjoy coming up with innovative new concepts. Ideas get you thinking and get you talking and as long as they remain at the level of a thought-experiment or a discussion, they are neat and tidy. It’s only when you act on them that they get messy.
- Ideas can be completely owned by you.
It’s your privilege to keep your idea to yourself as long as you like. It belongs to you and it’s yours to do something with or not. You don’t have to deal with partners, customers, bankers or employees – it’s just you. That’s nice but it won’t make anyone else’s world better.
- Ideas you keep to yourself are not prone to criticism from others.
When you keep your ideas to yourself you are not prone to criticism. When you go beyond that and take action, turning your idea into a physical or digital form, something else altogether happens. You have created something for others to view, to experience, to judge. If the thought of putting your ideas on display repels you, ask yourself why and ask yourself what you need to do to get past this fear.
- There are no opportunity costs to having ideas.
Unless you’re doing something with your idea, it is not costing you anything, including your own time or resources. As soon as you start heading down a path with one idea you might stop the possibility of committing to other paths meaning your other ideas will be ignored. By not committing to one idea, you keep the possibility of one day turning one or all of your other ideas into reality. But will you if you don’t start with at least one of your ideas? Going beyond the idea stage even in a small way can be (good) habit forming.
- Ideas do not require a lot of time, energy or resources.
As you start to take action on an idea, you are committing time and resources. You can spend hours, days, weeks or a lifetime in pursuit of an idea. If you keep your idea locked up nicely in the comfort of your thoughts, you don’t need a lot of resources to maintain it other than your own ruminations.
- Ideas are full of promise and hope.
When ideas are at the level of a thought or a note or a doodle in a journal, they contain the promise of a future benefit to you, your family and to others. Your idea has every potential to solve a world problem or at least a problem in someone’s world. They may work perfectly which is likely how you see them at this stage. The question remains: how will you know if your idea can add value to the world unless you test it, fix the unforeseeable issues you encounter, and release it to the world?
- Ideas are easy and they come fast.
If you remain open and observant, you know that ideas can come fast or slow, at all times of the day or night and sometimes in the strangest of circumstances like when you are at the gym doing something seemingly unrelated. An idea can come to you while you are in conversation with friends, customers or with the waitress at Denny’s. Capture them. An idea of yours may become reality but only if you are willing to do the hard work of taking action to turn it into form for others to touch, see and experience.
Which one of these stumbling blocks is holding you back?
Something else getting in the way?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.