Here's a quick guide on how to bring your idea from fantasy into reality.
1. Articulate Your Idea. This sounds ridiculous I know but you will be surprised how often people have a concept in their head but can't communicate it to someone else. Don't just talk about it. Take the time to write it down. If it doesn't make sense on paper, delete it and start over. Keep trying until you can successfully communicate the complete concept without thinking about it.
2. Limit the Number of People You Tell. There are two reasons that I give this advice. First, contrary to popular belief, the idea itself is not protectable. If you tell your idea to everyone, you are risking someone beating you to the punch. Certainly you don't want the next Uber or Facebook to slip through your fingertips over the slip of the tongue. Secondly, you risk hearing discouraging opinions from those around you. One thing I learned was that everyone can't see the vision. They fail to see the bigger picture because they are so busy dwelling on the challenges that you may face. Discuss your idea with likeminded individuals. Those who critique rather than criticize, and encourage rather than present an attitude of failure. If you know someone is a Negative Nancy, save yourself the time and the energy trying to convince them to believe in you.
3. Research, research, and research some more! No one should know more about your idea or business than you do. Research what you will need in order to develop the idea, and don't rely on others just to tell you throughout the process. When you think you have done enough research, research some more. It sounds like busy work but it's not. One of the biggest mistakes that I made with my first business was trusting the judgment of others, especially when it came to spending my money, instead of doing the research myself. There's nothing wrong with asking for advise but you can't completely rely on it. Use advise from others as an introduction, and not a conclusion. Also, I encourage you to take the time to figure out if there is a similar or the same product or service already in your market. If there is, modify your product or service to distinguish it so you can create a niche. In the long run it will save you valuable time and money.
4. Create a Timeline. One of the biggest reasons that people fail to develop their idea is because they fail to hold themselves accountable. Create a deadline and then develop a timeline based on that date. You can seek assistance in completing this task from someone that is detail oriented and great at planning schedules. It will take some time but it's worth it. If you miss a deadline, don't fret, make the adjustment and keep moving.
5. Develop a Business Plan. Whether you plan on growing your business or selling the license to a product, a business plan is a critical step in the process especially if you are seeking investors. A business plan forces you to set goals for the product or service. From market research to financial projections, the business plan is a overview of where you are starting and where you want to go. You don't have to have a degree in business to get this done. You can find some great resources online at sba.gov that will assist you. You can also find individuals and companies that will draft one for you.
6. Create a Team. Creating a team is an essential step in the process. At some point in the development you will need someone to help you. Create a team of people that you trust in business (please note I said business not just in life), that add value to your business or product, and that are willing to grow with you. Everyone has to be working towards the same goal otherwise it simply won't work. Even Oprah and Bill Gates have a team that helped them build their empires.
7. Tackle Each Step on Your Timeline. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, tackle each step one at a time. Once you have accomplished a goal, check it off, and move on to the next step. When you break it down, it becomes more conceivable and less daunting.
8. Don't Give Up! Throughout the process you may get discouraged, but don't give up. Yes there will be challenges, yes there will be set backs but if you keep pushing through it will be worth the reward. When you feel like quitting, look back on all of the work you have done thus far. You don't want that to go to waste.
9. Keep Improving. With any great idea there will be imitators so make sure you are always improving your product or service. Look for ways to make your product or service better in order to stay relevant.
10. When in Doubt, Ask for Help! I must admit you are not going to know everything and even researching won't provide all of the answers. Seek the guidance of a mentor or someone that is successful in the field of interest.
I hope this guide pushes you to take the leap of faith and act on the idea that you have been thinking about for months or even years. Remember "it is better to try and fail than never to try at all." - William F. O'Brien
Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless