Entrepreneurs brim with ideas. At times it’s more like an explosion, flinging ideas into every corner of the room.
We can imagine the possibilities. We can picture our success with the latest brainstorm, certain of its universal appeal.
The ability to see potential is the very nature of an entrepreneur.
Unfortunately this incredible strength also brings incredible weakness. Like a chicken running around after its head is cut off, we can be enthusiastically engaged while our business is dying.
As someone who simply can’t shut off the ideas in her head, I needed a solution to this problem. It involves a chicken,a Twitter chat, and a T-Shirt. Ready to try my solution? (Don’t worry the chicken will be provided).
How to Turn Your Idea Storm Into a Profit Generator
This post is part of the awesome Word Carnival. Read more posts on this month’s theme: Vanquish Your Nemesis: A Guide to Conquering Small Biz Evils
Villains and the Stephen King Effect
Our primary sense to experience the world is sight. We have all sorts of devices to communicate and share visually (from paintings to Pinterest). I’ve never heard of a book of smells. You don’t taste business plans (although there’s an idea… ahem focus Nicole).
Once we have a visual of something it becomes less intimidating, more manageable. I call this the Stephen King Movie Effect.
Stephen King is the undisputed champion of horror books. I’ve read a few and I’m not ashamed to admit they scared me. His books work so well at scaring the masses because he taps into the fear of the unknown, unnamed, and unseen.
Stephen King movies never live up to the book because they give a face to the fear. Even with the scariest special effects, seeing a monster is less scary than imagining one.
Once we can see something, no matter how awful, we can begin to deal with it. We can categorize it, research its origins, and develop ways to stop it.
Struggling to tackle a business problem? Personify it! Create a villain that embodies your problem. It removes the fear and creates focus, enabling you to think about solutions.
Why a Chicken?
Years ago I was introduced to a T-Shirt with this slogan:
Before you get upset and say it’s disrespectful, the person who showed it to me had been diagnosed with A.D.D. I was tutoring him in math, and he used this as a way to illustrate how his brain worked. We began to use “chicken” as a reminder when his attention wandered.
To this day when someone’s attention wanders I have the urge to say, “Look there’s a chicken.” I don’t (usually), but chickens are forever linked to easily distracted in my mind.
I bet you’re thinking, “Nicole a chicken for a villain? Really?!”
Don’t underestimate this chicken. In fact that’s part of her message. Who’s scared of chicken? They’re harmless, right?
How could ideas be harmful? As entrepreneurs we should celebrate ideas. The more the better!
Wrong. Too many ideas all vying for attention is a prime example of BSOS – Bright Shiny Object Syndrome – a real profit killer.
What the heck IS Steampunk?
Twitter is the perfect tool for instant, succinct (140 characters!) feedback on an idea. Tori Deaux of The Circus Serene hosts a #QuirkyBiz chat for right brained entrepreneurs. I asked them for feedback on my chicken villain.
Given the tie-in with BSOS, the suggestion was to make the chicken shiny. First the idea of a robot was thrown out. Then someone suggested “steampunk” to appear up to date (Hey I’m hip and cool, right?).
Sounded good, my target market had spoken. The only problem -I wasn’t really sure what steampunk was.
According to Wikipedia, “Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.”
And Debbie the Distractor, Steampunk Chicken was born.
How to Stop Watching the Chicken
I don’t expect you to stop dreaming up ideas. I don’t expect the Earth to stop rotating or for me to stop liking chocolate either.
The solution is to harness the ideas, control them without losing their vitality.
When I get an idea I want to share it. I’m excited – this is great! Of course after 20 calls to the same colleague in a week about 20 different ideas my welcome would be worn out.
I needed to share my ideas. I was worried if I didn’t capture it right now the idea would float off into the mists never to be heard of again. (Yes I know that sounds silly, if it’s such a great idea how could I forget? Fear is NOT rational).
I bought some clear plastic envelopes (see picture) and labeled them; Product Ideas, Online Content Ideas, Random Thoughts… When I had a brainstorm I wrote down the idea and put it in one of my envelopes. I chose envelopes not folders because I often write on random objects of different shapes and sizes. This way I could be sure nothing would be lost.
Whew, ideas are captured. Now what?
Given my rate of ideas and the limits of space / time, I couldn’t possible pursue them all. I only allow myself a certain number of projects and activities at any given time. If I want to start something new I need to be either finishing something else or abandoning as not viable.
For this to work you must:
- Be honest with yourself on the realistic workload you can handle.
- Before you begin, set the minimum amount of time to test an idea before abandoning it.
If you fail to follow these two rules you will simply be taking better notes while watching the steampunk chicken.
Share Your Villain
Do you have a steampunk chicken villain in your business? How do you deal with it?
What is your biggest business villain? If you have an image (even stick figures on a napkin), I’d love for you to share it in my Business Villain Gallery. Check out others, read their challenges. Let’s put these villains in their place!
Need help taming your business villains? I can help! Schedule a zero cost, no obligation consultation now. Fill in the form below, and my amazing assistant Denisse will contact you to make it happen.