Over the years I’ve had plenty of bright ideas for a business from ridiculous products and services to what I thought were revolutionary ideas. Most of them simply I discussed with friends and family or fantasized about creating, but never took any action. Ideas about reinventing the toilet to a new payment method for cars going through drive-thrus. None of which I was truly that passionate about, but simply found interesting to think about. At some point, I got tired of just thinking and actually started going through the motions of imagining what it would take to create a company.
I downloaded business plan templates I found online for free and started filling them out to see if I could actually articulate an idea into a business. I found the process very helpful and really a great exercise in going beyond the ideation phase to really think about what all goes into creating a business. Most everyone has or knows someone who has seen a product and said hey I thought of that years ago! The difference is someone actually took action on that idea. When you think about many inventions that changed our world such as the telephone and the lightbulb those ideas who we attribute to Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison were not the first with the idea but the first to successfully execute and scale.
Entrepreneurs, founders, and creators of companies are often times the inventors of today. They have an idea for a ride-sharing app or social network and they successfully execute. Facebook was not the first social network but when we think of the rise of social networks the original most people recognize Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. My point is that whether you have an original idea or an improvement on the idea of someone else in order to be known as the creator you have to take action. A good first step in helping make that idea or dream a reality is to write it down and organize your thoughts around it.
In our capitalist economy, it is the one who can successfully execute on a strategy that will rise to the top. If you have a great idea or want to start a business it is important that you really develop your strategy. A great way to do that as I have learned is to write a business plan. It doesn’t matter if you don’t show it to anyone else or use it ever again. The business plan simply helps you articulate your idea better and critically think about what it will take for your idea to become a reality.