You know the drill: a cool idea suddenly hits you. You dismiss it at first, incredulous. Then, you do some research – it can’t be that this does not exist! What’s going on here? Is the world so incompetent? You search some more, find a great business opportunity waiting for you, a lucrative market gap: if you create this business you will be rich in no time! Suddenly you find yourself pumped, you start planning your next 12 months and route to market. Then you realise: wait! I don’t have the time, money or energy to do this, I should just forget this idea and continue with my current projects. But that nagging feeling that you could be leaving behind a great business haunts you.
Suddenly you find yourself pumped, you start planning the business inside your head the next 12 months and route to market. Then you realise: wait! I don’t have the time, the money or even extra energy to do this, I should just forget this idea and continue with my current projects. But that nagging feeling that you could be leaving behind a great business idea haunts you. The idea stays with you, you can’t shake it for days!
Heard this story before? I guess it’s part of entrepreneurial DNA.
My personal solution is simple, here is my checklist before investing my scarce resources and time:
- Let the idea digest for a few days. Look at it again – does it still look awesome or was it just the adrenaline and novelty making you excited?
- If it still looks awesome, talk to some people you trust about it, get some other perspectives. See if they can put you off it (a good thing!)
- Let it be for a few more days.
- If it still won’t let you be, then take a reality check and see how it fits into your plans and what it would mean to invest the right amount of time to make this “thing”. How much money would you need, who would you need on your team, bootstrap vs funded, etc.
- Let reality sink in – all that work, time, difficulty… allow it to put you off.
- OK, this idea is really good, I still want to do it! Goddamit, not again. OK, here we go, I must surrender to it.
Go for it, but commit to a minimum amount of time and energy beforehand otherwise you will inevitably have another great idea in 6 weeks and abandon yet another project before you’ve had enough time to even learn from the experience! Even if the idea turns out unfruitful, go get some stuff done: test the market, learn about the people and marketplace. You have an obligation to at least get some bad results, then evaluate what you did right / wrong and only then are you allowed to quit.
Entrepreneurs? We crazy.