Here’s a useful and practically free tip I use whenever I have a new brainwave idea. It’s similar to the future notebook idea I posted about a week or two ago.
When you have a new project idea, be it an e-commerce store, an informational product or a service business, here’s what you need to do.
Please note: This must happen before you spend money on stuff, research for hours and hours or especially start telling your family and friends about how you’re going to be balling out of control and buying a jet in six months’ time based on your new idea.
This is a step-by-step process, and you’re probably going to get stuck at step two to be honest, but that’s a good thing. From personal experience, getting stuck in this process will save you an absolute fortune in buying domain names.
STEP ONE: SIMPLE BUSINESS PLAN
I get it… you want to start a protein powder dropship store or write a book about how to lead a lifestyle design lifestyle by writing books about lifestyle.
In your mind, it’s obviously a brilliant idea and you can practically feel the soft leather and the gentle recline of the seat on your private plane already, but you have to slow down.
Grab a sheet of A4 paper and write your simple business plan.
- What are you building that will directly make you money (So, not a blog then)?
- How are you going to get people to see that product?
- How do you turn those eyeballs into money?
- What complications are there going to be?
If you can’t do this, then you shouldn’t move on to the next step. It’s as simple as that.
The world is full of people who are trying to make stupid businesses work. They’ll attempt new marketing strategies, spend money on flyers and bug their families to death on Facebook. None of it will work because fundamentally they don’t have a viable product that’ll sell to a viable audience.
If you can’t summarise your idea with tangible facts and figures on a single A4 page, then you either don’t know enough about your product or the product simply isn’t there in any viable form.
STEP TWO: TAKE A WALK
Once you have the most basic of basic plans, it’s time to literally walk it off. Here’s what I’ve found about genius ideas: They are fantastic in that first sitting. You have the lightbulb Eureka moment of exultation and you start to imagine what a massive great victory you’re about to have.
Then maybe it’s time for lunch and so you go and eat a sandwich. When you come back to your brilliant idea of inevitable success, you find that the spark isn’t there anymore, and you wasted the morning dreaming of yachts and protein powder billionaire status.
We need to deliberately test the strength of our idea out. So at this point, you finish your one-page plan and you go for a walk.
Make it at least an hour. The idea is to wander around until your mind is occupied by other things.
But you’re not just wandering around aimlessly, you’re walking to the store. If you still think your idea is great after the break, you’ve got a purchase to make.
STEP THREE: BUY A NOTEPAD
Buying notepads is almost a hobby of mine in and of itself.
Writing things out by hand is better for your brain, memory and understanding than typing them is, and far superior to copy-pasting.
There’s a reason that practically every good copywriter ever has recommended copying out adverts by hand to internalise the structure and style of copywriting.
If you’ve got a burning business idea, then you need to buy a notepad. If you’ve completed the above steps, you’re about to make the best £1 purchase ever.
Buy a notepad, because we’re going to do some research regarding our idea now. We’re going to go from a single page idea into being an authority on the subject.
STEP FOUR: RESEARCH TIME.
ALLOCATION: UNTIL THE PAD IS FULL
The headline sums it up here.
If notepads in your country are the same as they are in England, then you’ll get a pad with about a hundred pages of lined paper in it.
Your mission, should you not be sick of your idea already, is to try and make yourself sick of your idea.
Remember, if we spend a day working on a business idea and it turns out it’s rubbish and not at all viable, then we’ve had a productive day.
A lot of people procrastinate for months and even years on businesses that aren’t going to work. They grow to hate their businesses because they were in it for the money – sometimes they thought they’d get easy money – and yet they get the opposite. Trawling through life waiting for a means to get out of the business they don’t want to be in.
If we can condense this process into an afternoon and decide we’re not into this business idea as much as we thought, that’s a victory.
Of course, sometimes you’ll have a business idea that’s still exciting to you after this process. That’s obviously good too.
Anyway, your goal at this stage is to fill the notepad with notes on your company and market.
Who are the players in your market? What are the intimate details of your product from conception to delivery and customer support? What’s the history of your market – from when stone-age cavemen dreamed of your product right through to the near future where Amazon will deliver it on flying spider-robots.
This isn’t a game and it’s not optional. By the time you’re done with this process, you should be an expert on your target market. This solves the headaches you’re going to get when some ignoble member of the public or potential customer says, “So how do you make your stuff?”
Yes… that includes those of you who ship it from China.
STEP FIVE: BRANDING EXERCISE
It’s a little known fact that I created the world’s best branding exercise a few months back. Some of you are already using it to create awesome and unique brands. The rest of you need to read this article and get to it.
At this point, you have a hundred pages of research about the intricacies of your product. You know everything there is to know about your product – or at least – you know the fundamentals.
The last thing you’re going to do after you do all that work is create the world’s most boring Shopify clone and ship straight from AliExpress to your customer’s door like everyone else does.
After this, you’re going to create a unique brand using all of your research plus your own personal interests and quirks.
Now, this is a unique thing, so I have to leave you there, but if you’ve done all of these things in that specific order, you’ll be ready to create an amazing offer to give the world.
The power of this step-by-step guide is the order you’re doing it in.
A lot of people have a great idea, design the logo and then get bored or realise there’s no way to actually do the business stuff.
They get stuck on the idea and don’t try and challenge themselves to break the idea.
In this program, you’re going from initial idea to minimum viable business plan to testing your resolve to ironing out the kinks and heavy research and then finally differentiating yourself from everyone else.
At that point, you should and will move on with creating a minimum viable product and putting things in motion. If you’ve been comprehensive, the process of going from idea to reality will be simple and enjoyable.
If you’re bored before you get through this process, you’re not going to spend years building your business. However, if you’re still excited about a project after writing thousands of words on it and spending days researching it constantly, then it’s probably got some merit as an idea that you can accomplish.