How to Transform Your Business Ideas Into Dollars

Linda D. Garrow

New entrepreneurs place a lot of value in the merit of their idea. They buy into the premise that with a powerful idea alone, millions of dollars will follow. Many live with the unreasonable fear that someone will steal their idea, and while ideas have power, only action gives them value.

Part of the entrepreneurial mythology is that a great idea will create millions of dollars and change the world. Unfortunately, the idea isn’t enough and what’s required to succeed is completely misunderstood. If an idea alone could create cash, then many would-be entrepreneurs wouldn’t be left saying “that was MY idea!” after hearing of someone else’s success doing something similar.

Ideas are only seeds. Actions are what give the idea life and a potential to profit, and without the appropriate action, sooner or later someone who does take action will seemingly “steal your idea.”

An idea is something that gives entrepreneurial action purpose and soul that connects people to product. Your actions are the fuel that gives ideas life. So what actions should you be taking?

Action #1: Sell the simplest possible version first

The first action that matters is having the most basic form, often called an “MVP” or minimum viable product, to actually sell to someone. This step gets radically overcomplicated in pursuit of perfection of the idea, but more often than not the thing that matters the most is simply getting a version, any version, of the idea out into the world and into the hands of customers.

When an idea first meets contact with customers, the things that really matter to people become exposed. Challenges in logistics, features and benefits that actually matter and next steps become much clearer. Until you’ve gotten your idea into the hands of a consumer, you’re only “guessing” at what the market wants.

Embrace the fact that it won’t be perfect, it probably won’t be pretty and it certainly won’t be the final version of the product.

Action #2: Marketing and audience building is always top priority

The second action that matters is marketing. We live in an age where audience building, the number of people following you on social media, the amount of recognition you gain in the press and publications and your advertising and organic reach matters more than any other singular thing in business.

The more people you can reach, faster and more influentially, the better your idea gains traction, crucial testing and importantly, the easier you gain the cash flow necessary to refine the idea. Most ideas falter and fail because they are underfunded and don’t have enough revenue coming in to further develop the idea.

Marketing is what gives you the ability to create the cash on demand required to further refine the idea into something worthwhile.

Action #3: Taking many small steps fast is better than big steps taken slowly

The third action is to move as fast as you can in small steps, often called “iterations” in the programming world. When you’re tackling a big, bold idea you simply don’t have the time for the idea to fully develop before the market moves beyond you and the opportunity slips through your fingers.

We often see polished products in the market and think that we have to have our ideas just as polished in order to be successful, but what you’re really seeing is the result of hundreds, even thousands of small improvements. Waiting too long in development of an idea means that the vast majority of the time you’re simply going to run out of time or resources because the task before you is too monumental.

Break down the idea into small, easy to implement steps and take massive action to take it step by step.

An idea provides you with a powerful source of inspiration, direction and purpose. Actions give tangible meaning to your ideas that others can buy into. Ideas have incredible power, but actions give them value.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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