I live and work with a man who has an idea a minute. Our business journey has been very interesting as he wrestles with the variety of ideas that come to him, which all have some level of viability.

It’s challenging because, to grow a business, you must put a stake in the ground about what you offer and then go “hell for leather” at making that offering a success.

If you are a creative, then those ideas can come at you from every direction, all the time. Even if you are not a creative but are easily distracted by the latest trends it can be hard to focus and, further, to get anything done. These ideas can keep us stuck as we have so many it can be hard to choose which one to get on with. Alternatively, we may try to make too many of our ideas become a reality, all at the same time. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed and with a half a dozen projects left unfinished.

Ideas are great! I love them, and I love brainstorming (Thought Showers, I believe is the new term.) They are inspirational and everything that we use in our modern world came as an idea out of someone’s creative mind. But, when these ideas are getting in the way of you actually getting anything done, then you have to put something in place to stop them railroading you.

So, save yourself.

A few years back, I created this process to help my husband with his ideas factory. It’s now a tool that I use with my clients to help them focus not just their business ideas, but their wayward, negative thoughts as well.

So here it goes:

Process to Deal with New Ideas

43683165 - friendly african american executive business woman brainstorming using green adhesive notes in a modern white office How to stop business ideas from derailing you
Image Credit: www.123rf.com.

Every time that you get a new idea follow this process before you take any action on it. You can swap the word “business” for goals or plans.

  1. Does the idea fall in line with the rest of your business offering?
  2. What resources does this idea need to work? (Time, money, manpower, etc)
  3. Do you have the resources readily available to proceed with the idea, at this moment in time?
  4. Is this a new product or service? If so, when and where does this fit into your overall business plan and schedule?
  5. Is this a viable idea? Would anyone actually be interested in it? (No, not just your friends and family)
  6. Is this something that you can park now and schedule in your future plans? i.e. six months, 12 months, 18 months or years in the future?
  7. Is this a red herring distraction or is this a sure money-maker?
  8. Realistically, how quickly can you get your return on investment?
  9. Have you established enough credibility and market share in your current offering to consider taking on something else that requires building?
  10. Taking all of this into consideration does it make sense to move forward with this or is it better to park it?

Answer the questions honestly without holding back and they should steer you in the right direction.

Too often we don’t have the resources necessary to make the idea work, it doesn’t fall in line with our plans and/or we haven’t got the capacity to take it on. When we are honest and realistic about it becoming a reality, we often find that the answer is no.

Now, I am not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here because I am all for making your dreams come true but diversification for the sake of diversification doesn’t make sense. We have to be truthful with ourselves – is this is a vanity project or something that actually has legs.

So, get a notebook or journal and when these ideas come into your head and you start to get excited, go through the process. Write the idea down in your notebook and park it. When you write it down you’re logging the idea so that you can come back to it late. Things change, and the time may come when your idea needs to be developed… or it might not.

Get really comfortable with this process and it will save you a lot of time, effort and money. Focus on what you have already committed to working on and give it your best. This will hopefully put you in a place where you’ll have the means to be able to take some of those ideas to fruition.

Remember it takes time to build a business or achieve a goal. Focus is your friend.

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