Guerilla Innovation – Chapter 11
Birthing the Baby
Until now the focus of this online-blogged-book on small business innovation has been a guerilla innovation mindset. This includes thinking, idea generation, creating, amping, and planning for getting a new business going. I hope by now you’ve got a specific business idea in mind.
The thing is, at some point, you actually have to start. You’ve got to pull the trigger, birth the baby, take the leap (add your own cliche here) but you must, jungle plan firmly in hand, get officially started. It’s the first step in creating momentum.
It might be the single hardest thing you’ll ever do.
I recall the words of the late, great comedienne, Lucille Ball who said, “I’d rather regret something I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” Wise words from a true innovator (worth reading her story).
There are many things you can do to mitigate risk, and you should do them. But let’s face it, a new business is always a risk. Why are some folks so reluctant to get the party started? A number of reasons — here are some common ones:
1. You don’t have confidence in the idea
2. You can’t “bet the farm”
3. You’re willing to jump in, but your partner isn’t
4. You want to jump, but your spouse or significant other isn’t going along with the program
5. You have no resources to implement, i.e. no cash to even put up a credible front
There are other reasons not to start, and I have empathy, it’s not a trivial decision. It will, whether you succeed or not, change your life. It’s a bit like having a child in that way, things are never the same afterwards.
Let’s look at those reasons and see what we can do to help you make the leap.
1. Lack of confidence in the idea. The best way to address this is to talk to people about the idea, and guage reactions. Is anybody willing to buy if it were ready? Don’t base your decision on one or two conversations, do a thorough job of getting reactions from different sorts of people — potential customers, theorists in the niche, suppliers, visionaries, skeptics. You’ll learn a great deal from the overall picture that emerges. You might jump, or, go back to the drawing board.
2. You can’t bet the farm. Risking your assets is something you want to avoid, and, sometimes it’s unavoidable. It boils down to courage. How do you want to live your life? As a salaryman, or, with some control over your own destiny? Working for someone else feels more secure, but it really isn’t, as nearly 8% of the USA population has learned. It’s a life style decision. Failing is no disgrace.
3. Your partner isn’t willing to move forward. If you believe in the idea, parting ways with a timid partner at the start is a good thing. Better at the start than 6 months or a year into it when the going gets tough. Get another partner, or go it alone.
4. Your significant other isn’t going along with the program. So, here is your opportunity to learn how to sell. Treat your S.O. like an investor, because guess what, they are! Don’t just spring it on them over coffee in the morning. Groom them, seduce them, inform them, sell them, persuade them, and get them involved. If you can’t make the sale, well, you can always get a dog. No, better a cat, less maintenance. Goldfish?
5. No resources to start. Money is a big topic and I’ll be doing more on it in the next couple chapters, but suffice to say, you need seed money to crank things up. Best to start planning for this moment now, in other words, save up some cash. If you are hand-to-mouth, find a way to fund your business by selling something you have, getting a second job, or using your retirmement money. Trade your services in order to reduce cash needs. Part time as you build up cash has worked for some. Or, better yet, get an order or your new product or service, one that can fund the business. Starting, even on a shoestring, shows committment. If you want to raise money, it has to be clear — you’ve put your own skin in the game.
So, pick your moment and announce you are in business. It’s step one of your Jungle Plan. You might actually have a party. You might incorporate on the web and then pop a bottle of something. Or, cut the ribbon on your office door. Savor the moment — and then get on with it.
This post is the 11th chapter in an online innovation book tailored for small business with the working title of Guerilla Innovation. If you want to start at the beginning and read the entire book, start at the introduction, here. The next chapterm #12, on Money Mindset is here.
The pre-cursor book to this online book on small business innovation (aka Guerrilla Innovation) is Jack’s Notebook, a business novel about creative problem solving. This is a great story that blends all the concepts of Guerrilla Innovation into one fast-paced, thriller type book. Yes, Jack does Notebooking and a form of Scaffolding as part of the story. Stories are a great way to integrate learning!