How to Take Your Project or Business from Idea Stage to Reality
There is no need to go into all the negative consequences of being stuck on the way to important changes or the implementation of a new business or project. The worst among them is the loss of opportunities. Humans are the only creature in the world capable of planning and thinking about their prospects, and making great efforts and enduring inconveniences now to get results in the distant future. It is our superpower that makes us do amazing, complicated things.
So why is it that the inspiration we have at the idea stage often does not turn into practical actions? Read about the possible roots of being stuck and the steps you can take to move forward.
Psychological Reasons That Make You Feel Stuck
Before we talk about getting unstuck, let’s look at why you may be stuck in the first place. The challenges we face in the beginning stage of a project may be deeper than just not having enough information, budget, and time. There is a phenomenon called business procrastination, when the delay is irrational and doesn’t have any obvious reasons. Among the inner obstacles that can cause this state can be the fear of failure or rejection, getting a negative evaluation of your abilities, fear of being bored or working too hard, and perfectionism. Aside from the fear of failure, there also exists the fear of success, as moving in the right direction and growing your business or project may unlock many more new tasks and lead to more workload and responsibilities. Sometimes being unstuck means figuring out what you should avoid and preparing yourself for it. Accept the probability of difficulties and mistakes as a normal part of the process.
Sometimes you can alleviate the pressure to succeed or to excel by teaming up with others. There are various ways to do this, from finding a mentor to forming a partnership to delegating or outsourcing some of the tasks. Outsourcing can help keep you from being overwhelmed. For example, any business venture you start will need to send out invoices or other important communications as well as perhaps marketing materials. Since many people these days don’t trust email attachments or opt for US mail for other reasons, why not leave this task to the mailing experts? A cloud-based mailroom such as DocuSend is a cost-effective way for even the smallest of startups to do this. You will have plenty of more important things to do besides sitting around stuffing envelopes!
Start, Draft, Build and Execute
You can't just turn an idea to practice all at once, no matter how brilliant your idea is. In project management, the next stage after the idea is planning, and a good plan with enough detail is the first thing you should work on before you act on your idea. It may be tempting to jump right in and start implementing your vision, but taking your time on detailed planning determines the success of your endeavor. Not only that, but it also keeps you from wasting time heading off in a direction, then having to backtrack if you discover that it isn’t the best way to go. The more detailed the planning, the clearer your path will be.
Start investigating and gathering information. Try to reach people with experience in this field or do research on specific forums and media. Consider the amount of time and budget you will need. Break your big goals into smaller intermediate steps you will need to take, and then break these down into even smaller steps. Business coaches often compare this stage to building a foundation: the more substance it has, the easier it will be to build something on it.
Detailing your goals and the vision of your future result is also important. You generally know what you want to achieve, because you have imagined a great solution to some problem or a way to fill a need that people have (otherwise, this article will tell you how to find a business idea). The more additional details you formulate, the more it connects the dots and gives you hints during your planning. Let’s suppose you want to switch your business over from using one technology to a more innovative one. What cost of operations will be acceptable? What equipment and digital tools will you need and who is the most reliable provider? What will you do with leftover inventory and equipment you no longer need? Or let’s say you would like to expand your business internationally. What platforms and tools will be key to advertising your company? How will communication with your foreign clients be organized? (An online mailroom makes sending and receiving international mail much faster and easier.) Which foreign experts or what third-party company should you hire to help you? What you want in general will turn into more specific tasks, and it will become more obvious to you what should be your starting point.
Set Time Frames for Each Intermediate Step
Just knowing that you must take the necessary actions does not feel the same as deciding to reach an intermediate result by the end of this week or this month; the latter will definitely organize you much more. Reducing the time frame when planning work can help you get going on tasks faster. Getting small intermediate results, even if it is just something like the investigation of a technical aspect instead of focusing on the final goal, removes the frustration we feel when facing something big and unknown. Have you heard the statistics on how much salt and sugar a person approximately consumes during their lifetime? It is literally a mountain, but you don’t think about it when having a little each day. Choose what you can do to get started now: create a raw prototype of your product instead of striving for perfection. Plan for a shorter period, no more than a quarter, and concentrate on the process. There may be mistakes, but think of them as hints for improvement and an opportunity to learn.
Don’t Expect Your Plan to Be Ideal and Unchangeable
Since we are talking about perfectionism… It is hard to even imagine how many new ideas fall victim to it during planning. Trying to make an ideal plan and predict all the possible challenges right from the start increases the risk of not moving from planning to action, or getting frustrated if the conditions change in process and you need to change your strategy. Any innovation or product goes through many changes during development. While a detailed plan is helpful, it doesn’t mean that your plan must be static. Strive for flexibility in your plans and be aware right from the start that it will undergo changes and revisions.
Document Your Progress in a Business Journal
When you actively monitor progress, the effective organization of a project or business becomes much easier. That’s why business journaling is highly recommended. It is a tool that will help you visualize your plans, track the performance of tasks, and stay focused. Instead of creating a simple to-do list, which doesn’t prevent you from getting stuck again at any step, write down all the ideas, problems, and achievements that come during the process. Regular journaling will help you evaluate and control your intermediate results to expeditiously respond to risks and condition changes. In the end, it will contribute to optimizing the work processes and finding the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach your goals.
It feels great when your ideas finally become reality. We hope these recommendations will help you get unstuck on the way to your new project or business. If you know any other secrets that bring you to the timely implementation of your ideas, you are welcome to share them in the comments section below.